David Kooris, acting chair of the Connecticut Port Authority, testifies (Credit: CT Examiner/Hewitt)

Port Authority Chair Throws Cold Water on Speculation Regarding Quick Departure

Connecticut Port Authority Board Chair David Kooris told CT Examiner he is not resigning from the board any time soon, despite comments he made at a recent meeting that drove speculation he was setting the table for his departure.

“On the one hand, yeah I’ve been planning since I took the position as a volunteer two years ago that at some point I would leave, sure,” Kooris told CT Examiner by phone on Wednesday. “But the more important point is, I’m not resigning. There’s nothing imminent. I haven’t announced or selected a date. This is all a bizarre extrapolation from one comment I made at a committee meeting two and a half weeks ago.”

Kooris said in addition to serving as the board chair, he also chairs committees for the board, including the Finance Committee, where his recent comments drove speculation that he was on his way out of the authority. 

At a Sept. 21 meeting of the Finance Committee, Kooris told fellow members, “I just want to sort of let you all know that I am going to be talking with each of you — and with Don, I guess, as the other member of this committee — in an attempt to identify a chair of the committee besides myself.”

Kooris told committee members, “I’m kind of looking out on the horizon of my tenure on the board and starting to transition out, having kind of met the responsibilities that I set out to achieve regarding the policies and procedures in the state pier project, etc. And one of the first objectives towards that end is, I’d like to get committee chairs in place. And so, you need not volunteer at this moment, but I would love for one of you to step up between now and the next meeting, and we can have conversations about that over the coming month.”

Those comments led to speculation that Kooris was leaving the port authority in the middle of its plans for a massive and controversial $235 million redevelopment of the New London State Pier into a hub for offshore wind development. David Collins speculated in a column published in The Day on Tuesday that Kooris’ “transitioning timing looks a lot to me like a captain abandoning a sinking ship.” 

Kooris told CT Examiner that he thought the column would “look pretty silly when I keep showing up at meetings.”

He said that succession planning is a prudent thing to do in any organization, and he was encouraging his fellow board members to step up into leadership roles on the board’s subcommittees.

“Long story short, I have not decided to resign, and I certainly haven’t announced a date to do so,” Kooris said.

Kooris said he had not had any follow up discussions with board members about taking over the finance committee since the meeting, but he said he has no doubt someone will take on that role “sooner rather than later.”

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