Officials overseeing the rocky San Mateo County Harbor District have found an interim leader to help steer them through the next six months that will include relocating its headquarters and responding to inquiries into possible dissolution.
On Monday night, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved to appoint Glenn Lazof as its interim general manager and allow the current placeholder, Scott Grindy, to return to his charge as harbormaster.
The board will vote at its meeting Wednesday, May 6 to approve an interim contract to hire Lazof, who has an extensive background in public agency administration as well as financial operations. An executive search subcommittee is continuing to review applications as part of its national search to replace former 17-year general manager Peter Grenell, who retired early this year.
“I think Glenn Lazof will be a very good fit for the Harbor District. He comes with a strong financial background and experience working with city councils and staff and he’s been in charge of some pretty extensive budgets. So I think he’ll bring a lot to the Harbor District,” said Harbor Commissioner Nicole David, who served on the board’s subcommittee.
Lazof’s resume includes time with the Regional Government Services Authority, a state joint powers authority that helps cities, special districts and counties find qualified staff, said Sabrina Brennan, president of the Board of Commissioners.
He has also served in financial and managerial positions for various cities and special districts including as assistant chief fiscal officer for the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, Brennan said.
Plus, Lazof lives on a boat so he understands the intricacies of what the district’s stakeholders need and the unique challenges of maintain harbor infrastructure, Brennan said.
According to Lazof, he has 26 years of experience working for government, recently served as an interim city finance director and has experience in fee studies, debt financing, grant management as well as financial reporting.
“I am very much looking forward to working with harbor commissioners in pursuing their goals for the district and contributing to the ongoing efforts of district staff,” Lazof wrote in an email.
Lazof came on board just in time as the district’s former applicants fell through, it must relocate its administrative offices by the end of the month and is awaiting a municipal review from the county’s Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCo — which is considering whether the district should be dissolved and its responsibilities absorbed by the county.
The executive search subcommittee, comprised of David and Commissioner Tom Mattusch, was working with the city of Brisbane to consider sharing an employee part time. However, the Brisbane city employee was unable to commit and Lazof arrived just in time, Mattusch said.
The special district, which is in charge of overseeing Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay as well as the Oyster Point Marina/Park in South San Francisco, has a big move in store as it will be returning its administrative offices to the coast after nearly a decade in South San Francisco.
If all goes well, Lazof will step in next week to help the district pack up its headquarters and move into the newly rented space in El Granada by the end of the month.
Harbor Commissioner Robert Bernardo said while the position may only last a few months, it’s a pivotal time for the district and he’s glad Lazof will be at the helm.
“This is a temporary position, we’ll be hiring a permanent general manager in the near future. But we need someone right now who can just keep operations moving forward,” Bernardo said. “Especially during a really turbulent time because obviously we’re in the middle of moving … we are still having to respond to the LAFCo review, we still have to respond to the civil grand jury report. There’s just so much going on right now.”
When it comes to the district’s future leader, most agreed they want a candidate who has a strong public policy and finance background, solid communication skills as well as an ability to deal with a diverse group of stakeholders and commissioners.
The board has approved a salary hike to attract top candidates, but it may take some time for the right person to step in as the district’s new leader.
“I know everybody’s in a big rush to see us make positive change and believe me there’s nobody that likes a faster turnaround than I do,” Brennan said. “But it is a process and it’s important to not rush it. Because we want to make sure we have the right people on board. It’s a key position and we need to do it thoughtfully.”
The Harbor District Board of Commissioners will meet 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sea Crest School, 901 Arnold Way, Half Moon Bay.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106
Note to readers: This story has been changed to reflect the correct name of the Local Agency Formation Commission.