San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury report:
Agenda Item 6: Commercial Activity Permits for non-lessee fish buyers
The following questions were asked at the Nov. 20, 2013 Harbor District meeting regarding the Commercial Activity Permits For Non-Lessee Fish Buyers policy approved by the board of Harbor Commissioners in 2012.
How this relates to current business at the harbor in real terms:
- How are these "buyers" defined? Do fishermen who are berth holders count? Are they exempt as suggested by memo from Commissioner Hollsinger? Are these companies with multiple trucks? Single people with a private vehicle? Anyone with a Fish & Game book? Is there a threshold for volume? A permit if you buy one time? 100 lbs or more? only semis full?
- How are buyers identified? Assuming that a definition is determined, how are buyers identified? How is a truck owned by Three Captains or Morning Star and a truck owned by a non-lessee buyer differentiated? What about unmarked vehicles? Is this for private vehicles? Semi trucks? When one buyer has multiple trucks how is that handled? What about fish walking off of the pier on a hand truck or driving off on a fork lift etc? Does that count?
- How will fees be assessed? Assuming buyers can be identified (which is a big leap) how will the quantity/volume purchased be reported and verified? How will the buyers pay fees? Who will calculate the fees due? Is there a minimum volume? Are "buyers" supposed to pay for purchasing 100 lbs? Stop by the office and pay $1.00? Will they receive a bill in the mail? Is it the leaseholder at the end of Johnson Pier's job to invoice their non-lessee partners?
- How will this be enforced? Assuming buyers can be identified and volume can be verified (which is hard to fathom) how will this be enforced? Is there a penalty if the three leaseholders allow people to buy fish without a permit? Is there going to be additional harbor staff hired to inspect and enforce? Is there going to be a gate at the end of the pier, video camera at each hoist? Is every vehicle leaving the pier going to be inspected? What happens if someone is unaware of the system? What if someone knows about the system, but doesn't have 30 days notice to get a permit? Will harbor staff impound the truck full of fish?
- Will this hurt commercial fishermen and small buyers? Who will pay for the enforcement? The fishermen? Will the District start enforcement with "non-lessee" buyers with large scale businesses that have partnered officially or unofficially with existing leaseholders, and installed equipment on Johnson Pier? When CAP permits be required for non-lessee fish buyers? When will non-lessee fish buyers be required to pay fees include in the policy approved by Harbor Commissioners in 2012?
Agenda Item 11: District General Manager's Compensation Increase
Approve a 2.5% pay raise for the General Manager, commencing with the pay period starting Sept. 27, 2013
During the Sept. 4, 2013 Harbor District meeting, Treasurer Jim Tucker moved to place an item on the Commission's Sept. 18, 2013 meeting agenda regarding the General Manager's compensation. He called for a 2.5% increase in the General Manager's pay. Parravano seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0 to place the item on the agenda.
At the Sept. 18th 2013 Harbor District Meeting Commissioner Brennan voted NO to a 2.5% pay raise for the General Manager for the following reason:
"I don't support a raise for the General Manager because I have reasons to be concerned about his ability to do his job.
He has demonstrated a history of bias against women and this continues to this day. Currently I have a pending complaint involving bias against women and an investigation is in progress."
Agenda Item 4
Evaluation of Possible Alternatives to Current Audio/Visual Recordings of Harbor Commission Meetings
Commissioner Brennan's comments:
As an elected representative, serving a four-year term on the San Mateo County Board of Harbor Commissioners, it’s my goal to improve transparency, accountability and inclusiveness at every opportunity.
The Harbor Districts is a countywide special district. Over 50% of the Harbor Districts revenue comes from property tax. The Board has an obligation to provide San Mateo County citizens with governance that is truly transparent, effective and accountable.
In recent decades, civil society and governments around the world have made great advances in increasing transparency at both the local and national levels. Yet there is still a need for greater and more meaningful participation and accountability, particularly when it comes to how public resources are allocated.
As good stewards of Oyster Point Marina and Pillar Point Harbor we should always strive to increase transparency and access to government data and public information.
Please support Transparency and Accountability by voting NO on terminating videotaping and voting NO on terminating public access television broadcasting on Pacific Coast TV.
VIDEO—Information requests blocked by the General Manager
Video Start Time: 2:22:00 — End: 2:30:05
Public record costs draw scorn at harbor: Commissioner argues staff ignores queries
Half Moon Bay Review - July 3, 2013
Asked by the Review, Brennan forwarded more than 80 email requests sent by her to harbor staff, seeking information on issues such as a harbor dredging project, a shoreline access report, a fee schedule for harbor tenants and other items. Saying she wanted all the information in order to do the job she was elected to do, she complained that her requests were routinely ignored by harbor administration. She said that filing formal public records requests with the district's attorney became her only alternative. She saved special criticism for district General Manager Peter Grenell, alleging he was deliberately withholding information and acting unprofessionally.
"When I ask for an item that comes before the board, and I ask the general manager, he doesn't respond and doesn't provide information,” she said.“I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place.”
She also reminded her colleagues that she was saving the district money by not signing up for the harbor commission's provided health care.
Harbor commission cuts off colleague, tightens rules: Board approves limits on public complaints
Half Moon Bay Review - Aug. 15, 2013
Over the first six months of 2013 those record requests cost the district $50,000 in legal fees, according to Commissioner Will Holsinger, an attorney who was appointed to the board earlier this year. He indicated those costs were inappropriate, reading into the record how the state defines the misuse of public funds.
"I'm not prepared to say whether (Brennan's costs) were for the business of the district or whether they were for her personal interest,” he said. “I do know they were not authorized by the district.”
Brennan countered that her legal costs were being overstated. A June expense report found her 2013 requests resulted in 55.8 hours of legal time — the most of any commissioner — but at a cost closer to $10,000. She described herself as a scapegoat even though larger legal expenses had been accrued by redundant staff requests.
Holsinger admitted his figure was inaccurate, but he re-emphasized the legal protocols should be tightened. His colleagues sided with him, mandating that any requests made to the district legal counsel needed majority approval.
Harbor board at odds over manager: Grenell may get raise despite complaint
Half Moon Bay Review - September 19, 2013
About two months ago, Brennan filed a harassment complaint with the district against Grenell, which is now being investigated by an independent law firm. She said could not provide details on the complaint because it was a district personnel matter, but she noted that Grenell “has demonstrated a history of bias against women.”
At a June harbor commission meeting, Brennan lashed out publicly at Grenell for allegedly ignoring a series of her requests for information. Her complaint was filed soon afterward.
"He is demeaning, demoralizing, rude, condescending, arrogant, and it ends in an unpleasant experience for me," she said to other board members at the time. "The general manager is capable of providing answers and he chooses not to do it.”
In recent meetings, Brennan has pointed out that district policy designates the general manager as the person in charge of judging all harassment complaints and determining whether to investigate. She asked her colleagues to consider revising the policy. It was not immediately clear how her complaint ended up with an independent arbiter.
"It appears by reading this policy that commissioners would need to make a complaint potentially to the person they’re making the complaint about," she said.
Tucker said he did not know details about Brennan's complaint, but to his knowledge she was the lone critic on the board of the general manager.
"Four out of the five commissioners are very supportive of Grenell's work and his accomplishments," he said.“The only one who's said anything verbally is Brennan.”
Itemized invoices from - Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn & Lanzone (ADCL)
- No fee is charged for providing ADCL invoices to District
- Monthly invoices by task should be made available to the entire board on request
- Brennan requested ADCL invoices
General Managers lack of response to board members requests for information
- Results in running up ADCL fees
General Managers slow response to public records requests
- Results in running up ADCL fees
President Tucker threatens to discontinue videotaping Harbor District meetings
General Managers slow response to Commercial Fish Buyers request for information regarding fish buying fees
- It's been over 4 months since Mike Mc Henry first requested fish buying fee info from Commissioner Bernardo
- To-date information has not been provided by General Manager
Board majorities confusion over committee meetings vs. special meetings
- Commissioner Holsinger appears confused over committee meetings, who should attend and how committee meetings should be noticed.
- Commissioner Brennan comments on General Managers refusal to notice the Harbor District Marketing/Promotions committee meeting held on May 29, 2013.
Boards majority votes (3/2) not to adopt the Pillar Point Harbor Shoreline Erosion Committee as an official committee of the Harbor District
- Committee will continue to meet as a citizens advisory group
- Agendas and Reports will be posted on Commissioner Brennan's website
- Meetings are open to all