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Marketing director joins port staff

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Insurance cost for port-rail agency drops, employee premium rises

TELL CITY - A Newburgh man was selected Wednesday to fill a new marketing position at the Perry County Port Authority-Hoosier Southern Railroad.

Stephen K. George is leaving a position at Greenleaf Bulk Carriers, Coden Ala., to fill a position borne of a strategic planning session last year, according to Alvin Evans, president of the port-rail agency's board of directors. Fifty-six people had responded to the job listing, he said, and seven made it to the interview process.

"One candidate stood out above the rest," Evans said about George, who holds a master's of business administration degree and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, both from the University of South Alabama at Mobile.

His previous jobs have also included stints as regional sales manager for DX Holding Co., Houston, Texas; account manager for Airgas Gulf States, Theodore, Ala., and specialty-gas manager and operations manager at Airgas Mid America, Evansville.

George said he and his wife, Stacy, plan to continue living in Newburgh. He's been traveling from there to service his Greenleaf customers. He'll start his new job Dec. 31.

In other business at the regular board meeting, Evans said discussions are continuing toward a move into the port of Tell City Boat Works, a company being formed by Don Foertsch, whose family owns Corn Island Shipyard. As The News reported Dec. 10, the Spencer County businessman plans to invest $4 million to $5 million in an operation that will produce tow boats, barges and other marine vessels, and employ 50 people within two years.

"We've said for a long time this is a desirable piece of property," Evans said.

"We said that back in 1995," replied board member Bill Goffinet. "Obviously, this is good news."

Volume is "not all that rosy," Dick Neumann said in his monthly report to the board. "We're seeing the impact of the Christmas holiday coming up," the vice president and chief executive officer said before predicting no barge traffic this month.

On Neumann's recommendation, the board voted to pay the agency's property and liability insurance premium up front. Its cost went down $3,500 this year, and paying it all at once will save $5,600 in interest, Neumann said, noting the port authority had never been in a position that allowed it to pay in advance.

Health insurance costs are up 12 percent and dental insurance is rising 6 percent, he said, noting this is the first increase he's seen in the employees' dental plan.

Again at his recommendation, the board voted to drop a short-term-disability policy that was costing the agency $180 per month. Some coverage is provided under the employees' retirement plan, Neumann said, and "no one's ever used it in my time here." Dropping the policy would make it easier to absorb the increases, he added.

With that change, family coverage will increase from $340 to $374 per month.