Report: San Diego could break new ground by codifying qualifications for port commissioners

Mayor wants set standards for port commissioners



San Diego would break new ground in California by setting minimum qualifications and reporting requirements for port commissioners, as requested by Mayor Bob Filner, according to a report released
Monday by the city's Independent Budget Analyst.
In January, Filner vetoed appointments of two commissioners who had been picked by the City Council to sit on the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners, partially because of a lack of such standards. His vetoes were subsequently upheld by the council.
A half-dozen port districts similar in organization to San Diego's have informal protocols for appointments and reporting of port activities to elected officials, according to the IBA.
The report said none of the six districts studied -- Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Redwood City, San Francisco and Stockton -- had codified qualifications for prospective port commissioners.
"Considerable discretion is accorded to elected officials to make these appointments," the IBA report says. "However, the port officials we spoke with indicated elected officials made these appointments thoughtfully."
Appointed port commissioners usually have business experience and expertise in maritime, labor, finance, real estate, legal or other areas, according to the IBA.
The authors of the report agreed with the mayor's desire to see people with "professional skill sets" appointed to the port's board of commissioners to represent city interests. The city has three positions on the board, but only one is currently filled.
Two of the six other districts studied had codified requirements on how commissioners should report back on their activities to their elected officials, but they were limited and not specific, according to the IBA. The
report said most commissioners brief elected officials on an informal basis.
"None of the ports indicated they had written performance assessment measures for their port commissioners," the report says. "Many indicated that performance expectations and/or goals are communicated upon appointment or during the term of appointment as needed."
The IBA said commissioners who fail to live up to expectations are removed by elected officials or not re-appointed.
The study was compiled ahead of a City Council committee meeting on port issues scheduled for Wednesday morning.
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