The Port of Galveston’s governing board will wait at least another month before making a decision in a controversy that has gone on for several months about whether to keep board meetings at port offices or convene them somewhere else.
Trustee Elizabeth Beeton, who initiated the conversation in June, presented the board with several options for holding meetings and the prices of each choice during the most recent board meeting.
Beeton for months has argued that the wharves board meeting room was too small, not designed to accommodate large crowds and that mandatory security protocols at the port’s offices discouraged public attendance.
Monday she endorsed temporarily moving to an off-site location at either city hall or park board offices on a trial basis, asserting that the move would cost the port only $500 a month.
The wharves board meets in Shearn Moody Plaza at 123 25th St. City hall is a few blocks south of there at 823 25th St. Park board offices are at 601 23rd St.
“I realize it might be a culture shock, but I don’t think where we meet will determine our identity,” she said.
Port officials, meanwhile, endorsed plans to purchase new equipment to allow for indexing meetings for $9,000 and then continue on a monthly contract with their current video services group, DLJ Studios, at a cost of $1,600 per month.
Indexing would allow viewers to selectively watch deliberations about individual items of port business, rather than having to watch a recording from beginning to end.
Trustee Richard DeVries made a motion to approve the port’s recommendation, but the move ended in a split 3-3 vote.
“My thing is, I just like the idea of giving something a try,” Chairman Ted O’Rourke said.
Trustees then made a motion to move meetings to an off-site location for a six-month trial period, but DeVries requested to table the motion to November’s meeting because Vice Chairman Albert Shannon wasn’t at the meeting.
“I think we should wait for the full board to make a vote as important as this,” DeVries said.
Trustees voted on the second motion, over DeVries’ objections, but that also ended in a 3-3 split vote, delaying the decision
Since the June meeting, port officials have slightly altered the meeting room to provide more room for visitors and have eliminated a sign-in requirement.