Thursday, September 12, 2013

Disputed Port Report to be Released Tomorrow

Last Spring, PEER was asked to review the Port of Gulfport. Who knows if PEER director Dr. Max Arinder thought it was just another day in the office, but whatever they wrote in that report did not make the Governor, MDA, or the folks at the State Port Authority Board very happy. Brent Christensen (MDA Executive Director) and Jim Simpson (MSPA President) fired off an 8-page critique of the unreleased report this summer after claiming PEER did not complete the task as requested and ignored MDA's input. And the Governor's office has made many a comment about the report's inaccuracies. 

Dr. Arinder, however, has stood by the 71 page report, which was subsequently held up through the summer.

But, after several inquisitive articles, a few concerned editorials (hereand here), and a protest this week, the PEER committee voted to release the report on Friday (September 13).

There are several minor and technical items in the 8-page letter from MDA & MSPA, but the most important issue for both sides is job creation, which was the main excuse and reasoning behind diverting the HUD money in the first place. From the letter, it seems MDA & MSPA do not think PEER reported an accurate reflection of current and future job prospects. With the closing of Ingalls facility in Gulfport, an unfavorable PEER report wouldn't help ease concerns about job creation on the Coast.

It could be assumed the 8-page letter was meant to undermine PEER's report since MDA has the ability to send out a letter without approval from anyone, while PEER has to wait for a committee vote before reports are released and cannot defend itself without releasing the contents of the report. The effect, however, has only been an increased demand to know what's in PEER's report and have a clear picture on job creation and the Port.  

Unless someone gets a copy earlier, we'll just have to wait until tomorrow to see what all the fuss is about. 

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