V.I. Port Authority board members approved Wednesday the hiring of five new officers – three for St. Thomas and two for St. Croix – that officials said will help shore up the agency’s workforce and reduce overtime costs.
Federal requirements mandate the agency have a Port Authority Police Department for the airports and VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe explained at the board’s meeting on St. Croix on Wednesday it’s important that department be well-staffed. Currently VIPA’s force is overworked and falls short when officers are out sick or take leave, Dowe added.
Because of the manpower shortage, VIPA’s overtime costs are about $89,000 a year and the agency has been looking at ways to reduce the bill.
On Thursday VIPA spokeswoman Monifa Marrero said one of the positions for St. Thomas is a K-9 officer whose salary will be fully reimbursed by the Transportation Security Administration.
In other news, the VIPA board approved:
-the extension of lease for office and storage space at Henry Rohlsen Airport for the TSA for one year through Oct. 31, 2014;
– a five-year option period on a 2017 lease for space at Cyril E. King Airport’s north ramp for St. Thomas Jet Center;
– a three-year lease renewal option for Steel Pulse Supplies for the storage and sale of building materials (lease rate is $40,980 annually);
-additional office space at Crown Bay Center for Neltjeberg Bay Enterprises (space goes from 674 square feet to 1,132 square feet on the upper level of Building B);
– allowing V&G Originals – an existing tenant at Crown Center – to expand its product base to include Apple products;
-a request from Skagway Jewelry Company Inc. for the removal of an interior wall between two subleased units at Crown Bay Center;
-Crown Bay Luxury Group’s request to extend its agreement for reduced rent from October to Feb. 1, 2014, to complete improvements at Building H, Crown Bay Center;
-authorizing VIPA’s marine consultant, CDR Maguire, to provide an estimate of the cost to perform an assessment of the structural integrity of Kings Wharf at Christiansted;
-and a task order for CDR Maguire in the amount of $82,830 to prepare construction bid documents to repair damaged piling and cathodic protection at the Wilfred Allick Port & Transshipment Center (Containerport).