When I was elected four years ago I ran on a platform of bringing change to the entrenched and corrupt practices of the Harbor District and the past Board of Commissioners. Not surprisingly there was resistance—a great deal of it.
Today, the District is cleaning up “old” business and those responsible for inefficiency, favoritism, and waste have moved on. I’m very pleased that the work I began over four years ago has been effective; a new board, new staff, and the stakeholders have successfully swept out the old regime and brought stability and peace to the District.
But we’re not done quite yet.
At a public meeting in 2013 about our annual audit I asked our past Finance Director if she was a Certified Public Accountant. As it turns out she was not a CPA and she reacted to my question with a trumped up complaint against the District. She claimed my question was inappropriate. Attorneys representing the District rewarded her by recommending the Board settle the complaint for $300,000, which the Board approved. I did not support this award because I did not believe it was in the best interest of the District or the people we serve.
Now one of the final legacies of the old regime — a former Harbor Master — left the District to take a new a job in San Francisco. He then hired the Finance Director’s attorney. He claims that he’s entitled to the position of general manager. He’s provided no evidence about who promised him this promotion or when the alleged promise was made.
Harbor Commissioners are elected to set policies that reduce waste and inefficiencies. Handing out excessive settlements to anyone who leaves the District in a huff is a dereliction of duty. I encourage my fellow Board members to take a look at the precedent set by the last settlement. Doing the same thing twice will set the stage for a never-ending rinse and repeat cycle of claims against the District.
In the last four years the District has emerged from the Dark Ages. What we must do now is to cease handing out settlements of several hundred thousand dollars each. Attorneys should not be allowed to use the District as an ATM. I sincerely hope my fellow Commissioners will consider these concerns as they work through the past Harbor Master’s claim. We are elected to protect the public’s interest, and your money.