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American Shipper

Pensacola loses another port director

Pensacola loses another port director

The Port of Pensacola is once again facing a leadership change, after interim port director Michael Poole agreed to accept a position as finance director at the Port of Jacksonville.

   A report in the Pensacola News Journal said Poole, who has been serving as interim director since April and who was under consideration for the position of port director will move to Jaxport in July. Poole said he had been offered the position at Jacksonville in February, and explained, 'I couldn't wait for the many months until a search was completed for the local director.'

   Pensacola has been experiencing turmoil in its management, with two port directors resigning over a period of 13 months.

   The News Journal report said port director Leon Walker resigned in April amid allegations he had violated city policy by dating a subordinate. Only months before, he had returned from alcohol rehabilitation treatment after being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The report noted Walker's predecessor, Chuck Porter, resigned after facing allegations he had accepted personal loans from employees and port tenants.

   Pensacola City Manager Tom Bonfield said the city had hired Slavine Management Consultants of Norcross, GA. To conduct a three-month national search for a port director.

   Pam Childers, a financial services manager in the city finance department, will oversee port financial issues until a new director is named, Bonfield told the News Journal.

      Bonfield noted that in spite of the instability with the port leadership, the port remained in good shape from a business point of view. Business has increased at Pensacola since hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged other Gulf ports last year.

   He added: 'Fortunately, from the business side, we have a stable, consistent tenant base.'

   Most of Pensacola's business is bulk, roll-on/roll-off, and breakbulk shipments.