As expected, Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed legislation that would restructure the State Ports Authority and, among other changes, strip him of the authority to remove board members at will.
Sanford, in his veto letter, said the bill "will do little to ensure that the SPA is a well-managed agency and will, in fact, only further entrench our state government in its antiquated structure of control by unelected, unresponsive and unaccountable boards and commissions."
The port restructuring bill came after the SPA's top customer, Maersk Line, announced plans late last year to pull all of its business from the Port of Charleston by the end of 2010.
Sanford suggested that, under the legislation, political pressure would not have swayed the SPA from relocating its planned container facility from Daniel Island to the former Navy base in North Charleston. He also said the bill would impede progress on a joint container terminal being developed with the Georgia Ports Authority in Jasper County, because the restructuring would empower board members who are resistant to bringing private capital into future port operations.
Sanford also noted that the state Senate dismissed an amendment that would have required SPA board members to document their contact with public officials, including lawmakers.
"This suggests that while the Legislature is concerned about limiting the governor's role with regard to the SPA, some are perfectly content with the undue influence wielded behind the scenes from the Legislature," Sanford wrote.
Lawmakers will take up the bill again when they reconvene later this month.
For more details, see Thursday's editions of The Post and Courier.