RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - There are new questions about the future of security services at the Port of Palm Beach. Protection of the port has been maintained, even after an 'administrative oversight' concerning the fine print of a contract.
Julie Houston Trieste, Public Relations Specialist for the Port of Palm Beach, says the board of commissioners is still trying to figure out how a new agreement with the Riviera Beach Police Department to provide protection at the port was never actually signed and, therefore, never ratified.
"It obviously is a concern when we are acting without a contract," said Houston Trieste.
In August of 2012, the port approved a three year deal with the city of Riviera Beach for two full-time uniformed police officers, two patrol cars, a police K9 with a price tag of more than $174,000 per year.
The port claims it delivered the agreement to the city for signing but got nothing in return.
"It's something that wasn't immediately obvious," said Houston Trieste. "We've been operating with them with a contract for several years and, honestly, it just slipped through the cracks," she said.
The city, though, claims it never received the contract at all.
"We haven't been able to process it because we simply haven't seen it," said William Jiles, Public Relations & Media Manager for the City of Riviera Beach.
Neither side is taking full responsibility for how this happened.
"As far whether it was an oversight on our part or on their part, I can't agree to that because we don't know what happened at this point," said Jiles.
"The Port can't take all the blame for it," said Houston Trieste. "It's a two-party agreement."
With no contract in place, the port is looking into other agencies to oversee security there including the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. "It's still up in the air from what I understand," Houston Trieste said.
Riviera Beach police will continue to respond to and patrol the port - at least for now. A decision about officially signing a new police services agreement will be discussed at the port's next board of commissioners meeting in late June.
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