PORT CANAVERAL CEO JOHN WALSH WILL RESIGN EFFECTIVE JAN. 2016
By Kathy Reaks // September 23, 2015
PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Canaveral Port Authority Chairman Jerry Allender called for Port Canaveral CEO John Walsh’s firing during the regular monthly meeting of the CPA on Wednesday.
After a discussion, the CPA commissioners voted to accept Walsh’s resignation, which would be effective January 21, 2016.
Walsh will continue to serve in the role until that time. No decision has been made yet regarding a successor.
The vote was 4-1, with Vice-chair Hank Evans dissenting.
Evans said he felt Walsh’s exit would effect relations with the cruise lines and port vendors, as well as financial institutions working with the port on several large projects.
Voting in favor of accepting Walsh’s resignation were Commissioners Allender, Tom Weinberg, Bruce Deardoff and Wayne Justice.
Walsh knew the writing was on the wall and had offered an apology after criticizing Brevard County Commissioners and residents over their displeasure with a proposed rail system to Port Canaveral.
That’s why Walsh, and his private attorney, had been working behind the scenes to secure a resignation deal before Wednesday’s Port Canaveral Authority meeting where Allender called for his ouster.
“I am offended. I’m tried of it. And I think we need to do something about it,” said Port Authority Secretary/Treasure Tom Weinberg, following Allender’s motion to fire Walsh.
Some in the audience were happy with the motion, showing their support with applause.
Walsh said he had been working to seal the terms of his resignation, but had not reached a final agreement before today’s meeting.
Walsh commented the move “was very un-classy of a port that otherwise was a very classy establishment.”
Port attorney Harold Bistline said the suggested agreement would have Walsh resign on Jan. 21, 2016 and that he would receive 20 weeks of severance pay.
The final details of the deal will be worked out by Bistline before Wash’s exit.
Walsh had sent several harsh letters to Brevard County Commissioners before and after their vote disagreeing with the two of three proposed plans to run rail through sensitive wetlands and parts of State Road 528.
During an earlier Port meeting Walsh referred to the critics as “Luddites” and said that many complaining “their own kids can’t make them happy.”
The embattled CEO had even harsher words for Brevard County Commissioner Jim Barfield calling him “uniformed” and “misguided,” when he proposed the commission vote against the plan.
Barfield said he wasn’t against the rail, just the route.
“During this transition, we will continue to provide our business partners with the excellent customer service for which Port Canaveral is known,” said Allender.
Walsh has served as CEO since March 2013. He began his tenure with the Port Authority in February 2011 serving as Deputy Executive Director of Infrastructure, Construction and Real Estate.
“It has been a pleasure to lead such amazing growth in cruise, cargo and real estate,” Walsh said.
“I will leave next year knowing this place is better than when I arrived here and set up for great success in all business lines. I surely will miss the incredible port staff and our customers in cruise and cargo.”
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