Acadiana Business

Port of Iberia director search turns comical

by Heather Miller

A 'brother-in-law' search for a new director at the Port of Iberia, which houses more than 100 tenants and has a $1.4 billion annual economic impact, has all but eliminated the dozens of outside applicants seeking the position.

The Port of Iberia is in need of a new director come the end of the year. If you're an outsider hoping to fill the position, it appears you're out of luck.

The Daily Iberian reports that despite the Port's commission outlining qualifications and narrowing down a wide field of applicants to a top 12, the man seemingly poised for the position is none other than Raymond Bernard Jr., the Port of Iberia Commission's former president who resigned this year to go for the director's job.

It also appears that Bernard's brother-in-law, also a Port of Iberia commissioner, sees no reason for Bernard to send his resume to the commission since he's already got the majority of the commission's support.

Longtime Port of Iberia Executive Director Roy Pontiff announced that he is retiring at the end of the year. Pontiff oversees a 2,000-acre industrial complex that houses more than 100 tenants, receives a fairly steady stream of state and federal grants and has an annual economic impact of $1.4 billion. When one board member asked Bernard whether he had the qualifications outlined by the board, Bernard said no:

There is nothing wrong with a majority of the Port of Iberia Board of Commissioners supporting its former president as its next director, said Commissioner Mark Dore.

In fact, Dore, who is also former commission president Raymond Bernard Jr.'s brother-in-law, said he doesn't even need to submit a resume.

"Not in this town. People know the leaders in this town. I don't think you need to," Dore said, including Bernard in the batch of leaders.

Dore said he's spent 40 years in the oilfield and never "filled out one resume."

Dore said he still wants to hire Bernard over the top 12. He said he would vote for hiring an interim director for a year and a half, after director Roy Pontiff retires at the end of the year, and then hire Bernard. Despite the fact that they're in-laws, Dore said he won't abstain from voting should the board have a chance to hire Bernard as the port's next director.

"I mean that doesn't have anything to do with it," Dore said. "You get along with all your brother-in-laws? You support all your brother-in-laws in everything they do, or (do) you have some problems with them?"

Dore said requesting a Louisiana Ethics Administration Program opinion is unnecessary for such votes.
Here's to progress, New Iberia.