Port of Houston CEO tells commissioners he wants to leave

HOUSTON - The Port of Houston's chief executive officer told Port Authority commissioners Tuesday that he does not plan to stay on the job much longer.

Alec Dreyer said he will leave when his contract ends next year or sooner if a replacement can be found.

He said politics have gotten in the way.

Dreyer told KPRC Local 2 Monday that he tried to run the Port like a business since taking the job in 2009, but he got frustrated with political infighting.

"I think I've learned an important lesson here that politics is not something I want to be involved with," he said. "I'll go back to the business world."

Dreyer made the decision after a Harris County District Attorney's Office investigation cleared him of wrongdoing in connection with the use of the Port's tour boat, the Sam Houston. A Houston television station alleged that Dreyer used the boat for a private party.

"The District Attorney did the right thing and restored Alec Dreyer's unblemished reputation," said Steve Mitby, Dreyer's attorney.

The Port is still under review by the Texas Sunset Commission, which is looking into open meeting and employee pay policies.

One of Dreyer's critics on the board is Commissioner Elyse Lanier, who said Dreyer may have tried to run the Port too much like a business at first.

"I think he's a smart man," she said. "I think this is a different environment that what he was used to. I've been around government agencies for almost 30 years now and it's a lot different. You have to work with people. You have to negotiate with people."

Lanier said there have been improvements made under Dreyer, especially in making business dealings more transparent.

The Port of Houston is a leading economic engine for Houston. A 2006 economic impact study found the Port generated $117 billion and provides almost 800,000 jobs for the state's economy.

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