Fernandina Port leadership debated as Danny Fullwood leads for another term
Image via the Ocean Highway and Port Authority.

fernandina port cranes ohpa
Mike Cole, vice chairman the last two years, didn’t want the OHPA chairman job.

Danny Fullwood will remain as chairman of the Port of Fernandina’s Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA), but this will be his last stint in the seat, he said at OHPA’s last meeting of the year.

Commissioner Mike Cole nominated Fullwood.

“I’d just like to say he’s done a great job,” Cole said. “He’s got a lot of things he’s working on still, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

OHPA tends to operate in a loose fashion — there’s no set succession plan for the Board, which Commissioner Miriam Hill suggested may be a good idea to implement to establish continuity and decision-making.

“Personally, I would like to see whoever steps into a vice chairman role move into the role of the chairperson,” Hill said. “Because, the vice chairperson supports the chair, and it’s a great learning opportunity for that Commissioner to learn the process and to practice the role.” 

Building a succession plan also can help make sure no one Commissioner holds too much sway in one area, she said.

Cole, vice chairman the last two years, didn’t want the OHPA chairman job, he said, because of his recent elevation to lead the Board of the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization. That effectively sealed Fullwood’s confirmation.

“For right now, I would agree. I see Chairman Fullwood everywhere, all over the community,” Commissioner Justin Taylor said. “I know he’s done a yeoman’s job, and so I support that nomination, I just think, moving forward in future years, I’d like to see not necessarily a rotating (series of office-holders) — we would vote on it — but let’s just look at (other Commissioners) and give others that opportunity to apply.” 

Cole mentioned the need for continuity as one of the reasons he wouldn’t accept nomination to the chairman role. Former Port operator Chris Ragucci sold Worldwide Terminals to a joint effort of Utah and New York firms called Transportation Infrastructure Partners (TIP) this summer. TIP is split 50-50 between Savage Services in Salt Lake City and Ridgewood Infrastructure in New York City, with Savage being the operating partner. 

The relationship between OHPA and Ragucci wasn’t exactly a smooth one, but Commissioners previously expressed hopes for an easy transition and working relationship with the new ownership.

“I do have a lot of unfinished business that I’m working on, and I just feel it’s necessary to have that, like Mike said, continuity,” Fullwood said. “(OHPA Executive Director) David (Kaufman) knows we’re working on a lot of things right now, and I just think a change in chairman would hurt some of that.”

He later noted it would be his last term as chairman.

Hill became the new vice chairwoman of the Board. 

“I would support you, Chairman Fullwood, and I would serve as your proxy if you were unable to attend local meetings, or are unable to serve in that capacity,” Hill said. “It would be, I know, a lot of work, but I would like to do that.”

After some discussion about the definition of his office, Taylor received the position of Secretary/Treasurer for the new term.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


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