Just before 6:00 pm this evening the Board of Harbor Commissioners granted the Portland Pilots the fee increase it sought because it is in a serious shortfall ($1. million?) and unable to pay its bills. This two-hour session was in bright sunlight and an experiment in transparency as well as in process for the Board who has not followed these steps in the past in its deliberations. Sara Tracy, an attorney at Pierce Atwood, was hired by the Board to steer it through these foreign waters. Jenn Thompson, Esq., a city attorney was also in attendance. According to Captain Klopp the Portland Pilots lost $250,00 in the lawsuit won by “The Cat”, d/b/a/ Bay Ferries against the duo two years ago.
The decision of the Board was based on revenue documentation required by the Board and provided by the Pirates, but “confidential” and not public information; presumably it included salary information the Pirates do not want public. Tracy advised the Board to ask questions about the confidential material without referring to the amount of money to keep it “confidential” and from public scrutiny. The confidential material was delivered to the Board today and appeared to be about 75 pages, but when this blogger saw the package marked “confidential,” Harbor Master Kevn Battle, a former police officer, quickly turned it over and hid it from sight. However, the content of the “confidential” matter was discussed during a twenty-minute executive session.
There is still more required process for the Board to go through that they have not previously followed. For example, the Board needs to notify both cities – Portland and South Portland of the increase in fee before it can go into effect. City attorney Thompson voluntered to do that following the vote.
Please see previous post herein for more background information on the controversy between The Cat. and the Board of Harbor Commissioners and the Portland Pilots.