In his search for a new port director, Maryland Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer says he is also looking for a deputy director.
"I'm not looking for one guy. I'm looking for two," he said during an interview at week's end in his office at the World Trade Center at the Inner Harbor.
Mr. Lighthizer, who has said that he considers management ability rather than experience in the maritime industry as the principal requirement, now is hinting that he may look for a deputy director with the maritime experience that the new port director might lack.
Mr. Lighthizer said he expects to make a decision within the next couple of weeks. "The problem is, so much is hanging fire I can't put this off. Decisions fundamentally affecting the port are in the offing and they're not going to wait very long," he said.
Although Mr. Lighthizer says he has reduced his list of prime candidates to three names, with several more people still to be interviewed, their identities remain a well-kept secret.
"He has not hinted at who they might be," said John T. Menzies III, chairman of the Private Sector Port Committee, a group of business executives who advise the Maryland Port Administration.
Mr. Menzies himself came up as a possible candidate in a survey the port committee took of its members, but Mr. Menzies insisted that his involvement in several family-owned port-related businesses would make him an inappropriate choice.
"We're a stakeholder in the equation," he said of his trucking, warehousing and stevedoring operations. That stake, he believes, would raise conflict-of-interest questions if he were to become port director.
Mr. Menzies said the names submitted did not represent any formal recommendations. They were simply individual responses by committee members to a survey. "That document shouldn't have much standing," he said yesterday.
Anthony Chiarello, the former deputy port director, was also on the port committee's list. Now assistant vice president for Universal Maritime Service Corp., a stevedoring company, Mr. Chiarello said he is not interested in returning to the MPA, even though he was one of the top applicants for the job when it was vacant two years ago.
"I'm not a candidate. I'm very happy with the change I've made," he said.