The Harbor District's smoke and mirrors approach to governance will soon be a thing of the past.
At the July 14 Harbor Commission meeting the board unanimously approved a contract with OpenGov to provide best-in-class financial transparency. The online platform will improve the District's financial operations and reduce the amount of staff time spent on public records requests, by making the District's budgets and annual audits accessible online to everyone. With just a few clicks, citizens and staff will have easy access to the District's financial information. This will allow Commissioners to spot budget trends and make data-driven decisions. And most importantly the increased transparency will help build trust.
The City of Atherton was the first public agency in San Mateo County to adopt the OpenGov platform. Please checkout case studies from a few of the 350 other public agencies already using OpenGov.
This is one of many needed improvements the board will continue to roll out this year.
I'm disappointed the June 4, 2014 Harbor District meeting agenda includes Public Comment at the end of the meeting. Standard practice by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and other public agencies is to hold Public Comment at the beginning of the meeting, not the end.
I'm also disappointed that Item 19 "Commissioner Agenda Setting" is not included near the beginning of the public meeting. With the board majority enforcing a self-imposed 10:00pm "hard-stop" it will be impossible for Commissioners to place items on a future agenda and impossible for the public to comment on items not included on the agenda.
It's unlikely the Commission will be able to hold Closed Session and cover all 19 agenda items before 10:00pm.
- Sea Crest School Gymnasium
- 901 Arnold Way
- Half Moon Bay, CA 94109
Link to Board Packet PDF -file takes time to load
Please attend the meeting
From the Brown Act:
54954.3 (a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an
opportunity for members of the public to directly address the
legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or
during the legislative body's consideration of the item, that is
within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body,
provided that no action shall be taken on any item not appearing on
the agenda unless the action is otherwise authorized by subdivision
(b) of Section 54954.2. [...] Every notice for a special
meeting shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to
directly address the legislative body concerning any item that has
been described in the notice for the meeting before or during
consideration of that item.
Those two provisions taken together mean that all regular meetings must allow public comments on items not on the agenda, but special meetings only need to allow comments on items which are on the agenda. Of course, any public-friendly agency will generally allow non-agenda comments at most special meetings.
In 2010 Sabrina Brennan suggested that Harbor Commission meetings be videotaped and broadcast on public access television and published on the internet. In response to the suggestion Peter Grenell, Harbor District General Manager said, “It is in the best interest of the District not to videotape meetings.”
At the June 20, 2012 Harbor District meeting Commissioners voted against Peter Grenell's recommendation and approved videotaping biweekly Harbor District meetings. During public comment, Brennan thanked the board for supporting openness and transparency in local government.
Checkout Peter Granell's comments in the Half Moon Bay Review this week.
It’s basically improving accessibility of harbor commission proceedings,” said Peter Grenell, the general manager of the Harbor District.
He expects they will begin recording sessions within the month, as soon as a contract with Pacifica Community Television is worked out and they obtain the necessary equipment. The estimated cost is $6,000 a year ($250 per meeting). Equipment will cost an additional $1,200.