I hope others are in agreement with me that the time for trash talking those who seek political office should stop.

Now it appears this practice has come to our mayoral race. In particular, a letter by Paul Schnitger ("If Quiroga wins, I hope he proves me wrong," The Daily News, Nov. 13) stating the Wharves Board of Trustees created a position for Roger Quiroga.

I had the privilege of serving on that board and can attest this is totally untrue. The port director at the time, Steve Cernak, petitioned the board for the position along with the salary requirement. I personally suggested to Roger that he seek the position. A unanimous approval by the board indicated they felt he was qualified.

Let’s all promote our favored candidate and stop trying to sling up dirt on their opponents. Enough is enough.

Don Suderman

Galveston

Locations

(6) comments

Charlotte O'rourke

City should require a waiting period

By Michael A. Smith Aug 24, 2010 0

The process by which former Mayor Roger ”Bo” Quiroga came to be employed by the Port of Galveston was unseemly at best and the city should adopt a policy for all its subdivisions forbidding similar transitions.

Until Friday Quiroga had been a member of the Wharves Board of Trustees which meant he was among port Director Steve Cernak’s bosses.

On Friday Quiroga resigned from the board so he could take a job working for the port which means Cernak now is his boss.

Wharves trustees minus one dissenter approved Monday paying Quiroga $76000 a year to be the port’s director of real estate and external affairs.

Cernak said he posted the open position and got 11 applications including Quiroga’s.

The problem is that while Quiroga was being courted or was courting Cernak for the job he also was a member of a public board overseeing Cernak’s performance and the performance of the organization he runs.

That quick jump from public servant to employee just doesn’t look right. It doesn’t look right because it’s not right.

You can’t objectively assess the performance of a person or an organization that you also are hitting up for a job.

At the very least Quiroga should have resigned from the board as soon as he filed his application. Cernak should have required that at the very least.

Cernak said there’s no rule against a person applying for a job with a public entity he’s signed on to govern and that’s the problem. There should be a rule against it.

The city should require a substantial waiting period before a person can leave a public board and join the professional staff of an organization.

————-

The city implemented a charter amendment requiring a wait period before Trustees could apply for employment. It’s called the Quiroga rule.

As a FYI, the job position was not budgeted, was a new job position, and to my understanding was never posted to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Charlotte O'rourke

Is island port acting responsibly?

By E.L. ORourke Sep 3, 2010 0

Is island port acting responsibly?

The Port of Galveston from Pier 21. E.L. ”Ted” O’Rourke lobbied council representatives to appoint Roger Quiroga to the Wharves Board of Trustees but said he is ”deeply disappointed” Quiroga used his position to secure a well-paying job.

Recently the Wharves Board of Trustees appointed one of its own members to a very lucrative port job.

There are so many things wrong with a board member getting a job that I don’t know where to start.

So I will start at the beginning. I lobbied each city council representative to appoint Roger Quiroga to the wharves board because of his promise that he would clean up the problems at the port.

Instead of keeping that promise Mr. Quiroga appears to have used his position to secure a well-paying job and I’m deeply disappointed.

Obviously if you criticize your new potential boss you wouldn’t be considered for a director’s job and I feel this desire for a job might have influenced his decisions in the last couple of months or even years as the port tried to resolve several internal management issues.

While the finance director was put on paid administrative leave the trustees were supposed to be objectively evaluating who authorized the false write off of missing cash to parking.

Instead the public finds out the port director has been offering Roger Quiroga various port jobs including the finance director’s job.

Now the public finds out the port director doesn’t always post jobs because the port isn’t legally required to do so.

The city has an internal policy to post jobs but the port is not required to do so under this city policy.

As a public entity and equal opportunity employer the wharves board states in its human resource policy anyone can file a complaint for discrimination in any aspect of employment including the hiring selection process.

I ask you the public how can any public employer claim to be an equal opportunity employer if it fails to post jobs and interviews just the boss for new director positions?

The employer should be committed to ensuring everyone has an equal chance to apply for jobs and that there should be a commitment and a policy to prevent discrimination in any aspect of employment based on age sex race gender religion or disability.

The board as the policymaker should approve and budget the jobs and approve the job descriptions qualifications and salary range before the job posting and selection process begins.

Final approval of any salary above $50000 must be approved by the board per the current policy.

The ”director of real estate and external affairs” position was not posted. When Roland Bassett said he asked the port director to fill this real estate position he was not talking about the new director position as it was never justified budgeted posted or even discussed by the board in an open meeting until Aug. 23 when Roger Quiroga was hired.

At the last meeting the port changed its travel policy to allow staff and board members to travel first class if the flight time is more than six hours instead of continuing to require economy flights. This occurred at a time when police and firefighters are being laid off and the defined pension fund at the port was funded at 59.9 percent which is considered endangered and requires a minimum of $595000 annually.

The port needs to be more responsible in spending public money. If the port has excess funds to travel first class in this troubled economy then it can afford to provide clean restrooms for port and ILA workers send extra money straight to the city to save public safety jobs and shore up the pension fund for individuals who are depending on this retirement.

Lisa Blair

Don, in order to sling mud you’ve got to have mud. Facts aren’t mud and the truth is important.

Trudy Deen Davis

Don said it all! Deal with it.

Trudy Deen Davis

Your perspective is spot on Don Suderman! Well said!

Charlotte O'rourke

Comparing Quiroga and Brown is like comparing fighters from a different era. It doesn’t make sense,

Quiroga obtained a port job through unusual means while a Trustee. That’s a fact. No need to rewrite history. That doesn't mean Quiroga wasn’t qualified for the director’s job. The job description and criteria were - as if made just for Bo.

As to terminating Bo’s position at the port, the port director terminated all senior staff which has left the port with no senior port people with operating and institutional experience. The port director has no port operating experience himself prior to this job, and it shows. The port management needs to stop displacing cargo customers while the cruise lease is still unsigned and the port promised not to lose “1 pound” of cargo during the transition.

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