VPA names interim director

Published 10:24 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Virginia Port Authority on Tuesday named an interim head of the organization to serve until its departing executive director can be permanently replaced.

Rodney Oliver, the authority’s deputy executive director and chief financial officer, was unanimously endorsed by port commissioners during a bimonthly board meeting Tuesday.

Oliver, who joined the port in 1999, has been responsible for administering the authority, overseeing the areas of finance, human resources, information technology, contracts and real estate, and quality management.

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His temporary new appointment comes as the state decides whether to revamp port operations, with three private groups as well as the current private port operator vying for the right to do so under the state’s Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA).

“I’m surprised, but I’m honored,” Oliver told Tuesday’s meeting in downtown Norfolk. “I want to let everybody know … that I’m going to do everything I can to make sure we make the right decisions over the next six months and we carry on with the mission of the port and we do it in the best manner that we can.”

The tenure of current executive director Jerry Bridges, whose departure was announced late last month, is due to expire Oct. 31.

Among several other items of business, commissioners also endorsed a severance agreement for Bridges Tuesday.

Bridges had come to the Port of Virginia as executive director in 2007, moving across from the same position with the Port of Oakland.

Meanwhile, the timeline for evaluating the PPTA bids has been lengthened after concerns of a rushed process. Detailed proposals are now due by Nov. 1, and the board is to be updated on Nov. 27.

Maersk subsidiary APM values its 48-year bid, which kick-started the PPTA process, at $3.9 billion to the state. The Carlyle Group and RREEF America value their proposals at $2.1 billion over 48 years and $4.661 billion over 50 years, respectively. Each bid involves various nuances, which will also be taken into account.

The venue for a public meeting on the evaluation of proposals, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 4, has been changed from Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center to the Nauticus Theater.