Five people have submitted paperwork to fill a vacant seat on the San Mateo County Harbor Commission following the death of Commissioner Leo Padreddii. The four sitting commissioners will interview candidates and appoint a new board member at a special meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The candidates for the open seat include William Holsinger, a San Mateo attorney who was previously appointed last year following the death of harbor commission President Sally Campbell. He noted his long community involvement, serving on multiple nonprofit boards, volunteering and even publishing poetry. He seeks to be appointed a second time after losing his seat in last November’s election.
Three women residing on the Coastside have also submitted paperwork for the harbor seat.
Half Moon Bay marine biologist Nicole David volunteered herself for the position, noting her experience in stormwater runoff and water quality. In recent years, she researched pesticide use and its impacts on marine life for the San Francisco Estuary Institute.
Another Half Moon Bay resident, Dorothy Baughman wrote that she wants to join the harbor commission after working for five years as a harbor secretary. Her familiarity with the district was an asset, she explained, giving her knowledge of the harbor budgets and processes. She currently works as office manager for the Community United Methodist Church.
Moss Beach resident Lauryn Agnew is applying for the harbor seat following more than 20 years of experience in finance, working as an executive for firms including Smith Barney, Harris Upham and Co., Lehman Brothers, and Wentworth Hauser and Violich Inc. In her application, she described her experience acting as trustee for public pension funds and helping steer nonprofit investments.
The fifth candidate for the seat is Brisbane nonprofit director Charles King. He retired after more than 20 years in the U.S. Army reserves and served as a transportation commissioner for East Palo Alto and the San Mateo County Transit Authority advisory committee.
On Wednesday, the Harbor Commission will ask questions and interview the five candidates in open session. Harbor commissioners will ask the same questions to all the candidates, based on recommendations made in advance by commissioners Jim Tucker and Robert Bernardo.
The harbor commission last made an appointment last year following the death of former President Sally Campbell. The commission selected Holsinger from among eight candidates to fill the seat. After the decision, rejected candidates, including Sabrina Brennan, who was ultimately elected in the next balloting, balked at the appointment process. They pointed out it was illegal because it was based on a secretive score tally between the commissioners. The Harbor Commission resolved the legal question by appointing Holsinger in a subsequent public vote.
Following that episode, harbor district officials drafted formal procedures for making board appointments. But over recent days, harbor district officials were still apparently confused over details of their appointment policies.
Harbor General Manager Peter Grenell explained in a memo sent last week that commissioners would score the candidates on a 1-to-10 scale, the same process used for Campbell's seat. But Brennan pointed out the district's new policy for filling empty seats called for the commission to make a vote. Grenell subsequently revised the process in a follow-up memo sent Monday, noting that harbor commission would instead make its decision through a vote, either oral or written.
The candidate interviews will take place at 5 p.m. at the Comfort Inn at 2930 Cabrillo Highway in Half Moon Bay. The new commissioner will be sworn into office and seated before the start of the 7 p.m. regular commission meeting.