'Good old boy' politics at the harbor district
Half Moon Bay Review | Letter from Sally Campbell | Wednesday, February 5, 2003 12:00 am
Recently, Harbor Commissioner Ken Lundie wrote a letter to the editor regarding the flawed process of the election of officers on the San Mateo County Harbor Commission. Commissioner Lundie's letter has, naturally, drawn rebuttals from the three commission members who currently control the commission and their supporters. During the January meeting, the presidency of the commission - for the third consecutive year - went to James Tucker by a 3-2 vote.
The importance of the presidency of this board far exceeds the title. On the harbor commission the chairman, or president, basically sets the agenda and, thereby, determines the "direction" of the district. Last year, during Commissioner Tucker's second consecutive term as president, serious consideration was given to allowing only the president and general manager to place items on the agenda. This would effectively squeeze out input from the two independent members. The accepted procedure on most public agencies nationwide gives all members a right to place items on the agenda.
With a guaranteed three-vote majority on the commission, you may wonder why the majority would bother to attempt such a "squeeze play." I believe it was an obvious attempt to stop Commissioner Lundie and myself from bringing up a proposal to fire the current general manager, Peter Grenell, for alleged sexual harassment and failure to undergo a physical/ drug screening as required under his employment contract. Other important items loom in the future, such as the hiring of a person to "run the office" at a salary of $85,000 annually, plus benefits. Commissioner Lundie and I agree that such an expenditure of taxpayer money is totally unnecessary, as the proposed "manager" would oversee the work of only six experienced, union employees.
This management task is one of the responsibilities covered by General Manager Grenell's current salary. If Mr. Grenell were doing the job the public is paying him for, an additional manager would be unnecessary. I feel the actions of the majority are an unacceptable use of taxpayer's money, especially in these difficult financial times.
For the record, on behalf of the voters who elected me, I object to this type of "good old boy" politics and will continue to publicly do so as long as I am an elected member of this commission.
San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner