Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JaxPort's CEO Roulette Wheel

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JaxPort's CEO Roulette Wheel

Article excerpt

Byline: Ron Littlepage

In what has become a tradition at JaxPort, another chief executive officer bit the dust this week.

During a hastily arranged board meeting Wednesday afternoon, JaxPort Board Chairman Jim Citrano announced that Brian Taylor and the authority "have agreed to part ways."

The board then quickly voted to accept the "resignation."

That deserves quote marks because a tour through the tea leaves gives the distinct impression the parting wasn't completely amicable.

For one thing, Taylor wasn't at the meeting to bid his now former bosses a friendly farewell.

Then there was the standard line used on such occasions that Taylor had decided to "pursue" opportunities in private business.

There also was the usual praise for the great job the newly departed had done - in Taylor's case, pushing through the fix to the shipping channel at Mile Point, getting new cranes for the port, construction of a rail transfer facility, etc.

But then most of the conversation among board members during the hour-long meeting centered on a subject that Taylor didn't accomplish - getting the $700 million to deepen the shipping channel from 40 feet to 47 feet.

Now come with me on a trip through yesteryear.

Rick Ferrin - nice guy, loved to play golf - served as the port's CEO for 13 years. He often said that getting the money to dredge the channel would be "the fight of my life."

In 2010, the board accepted Ferrin's "resignation" with then Board Chairman David Kulik saying, "I fully recognize the success that Rick has had, but we're not getting to the next level fast enough."

Paul Anderson then was brought in as CEO with the specific marching order to get the money for the deep dredge.

He left two years later for the top job at Tampa's port. Still no money.

Taylor was then hired and given the goals of securing the $700 million and providing long-term stability for the port.

Now four years later he, too, is gone. …

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