TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – For the second time in three months, a state appeals court has ruled that two cruise-line executives should be disqualified from helping decide whether to reduce harbor-pilot payment rates at PortMiami.
On Monday, the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with Biscayne Bay Pilots Inc. in a dispute stemming from an effort by the cruise-ship industry’s Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association to reduce what are known as “pilotage” rates at the port.READ MORE: Miami International Airport Ranked Best Mega Airport In North America By J.D. Power
The issue went before a committee of the state Board of Pilot Commissioners. The committee includes Thomas Burke and Enrique Miguez, who are executives with cruise-line companies. Biscayne Bay Pilots Inc. unsuccessfully sought to disqualify Burke and Miguez from the issue, prompting the appeal.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Afternoon Storms Could Produce Heavy Downpours
In a ruling similar to an August decision in a Port Everglades case, a three-judge panel of the appeals court said that the executives should be disqualified.
“(Biscayne Bay Pilots’) motion for disqualification should have been granted because ‘a reasonably prudent person would fear that he or she would not obtain a fair and impartial proceeding before committee members who are senior executives of the de facto parties that initiated the proceeding and whose rate change application is awaiting the commissioners’ decision,’ ” said the ruling, quoting the August case.MORE NEWS: South Florida Educators Upset Over State's New COVID Quarantine Rules
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.