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American Shipper

Newspaper raises questions about Va. port director’s salary

Newspaper raises questions about Va. port director’s salary

   Gov. Mark Warner and the Virginia Port Authority’s board of commissioners did not follow proper procedures for setting the salary of J. Robert Bray, executive director of the Virginia Port Authority, according to an investigation by the Hampton, Va.-based Daily Press.

   Bray’s salary was raised to $275,615 this year, more than double the amount allotted for the post in the state budget. Warner’s office signed off on less than half the increase and the board, in closed meetings that violate laws requiring all business be conducted in public, approved the rest of the increase, the newspaper said.

   Bray's salary makes him one of the most highly compensated port directors in the country, equaling or exceeding the pay scale for heads of much busier ports, such as the chief of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who receives $231,764 and the use of a car.

   Bray oversees an operating budget of $72 million, planned capital expenditures of $152 million in 2006 and a staff of 140 people. Kenneth J. Ringler Jr., executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has a $4.5 billion annual operating and capital budget.

   Norfolk is the sixth-largest U.S. commercial port, ranking behind such major load centers as New York and Los Angeles-Long Beach.

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