Scott Grindy

Scott Grindy was hired as harbormaster for the San Mateo County Harbor District in 2012. Review file photo

The former acting general manager of the San Mateo County Harbor District has filed a detailed claim against the district outlining what he says were years of abuse from Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan.

Such tort claims are a necessary step in many legal proceedings against government agencies and effectively serve as notice of intent to sue unless a settlement is reached. Former Harbor District Finance Director Debra Galarza followed a similar path, using the same Oakland attorneys, before reaching a $295,000 settlement over her claims of mistreatment within the district.

Scott Grindy worked for the Harbor District for three years between 2012 and 2015. He was hired as harbormaster and charged with many of the day-to-day management functions of district operations, including those at Pillar Point Harbor. He claims that he was led to believe he would take the general manager position in the future. When General Manager Peter Grenell retired in 2014, Grindy was promoted to “acting general manager.” Not long after, he reportedly asked to be reinstated to his old position, a move he maintains in his April 8 claim against the district was motivated by ongoing abuse.

The 24-page claim details what Grindy’s attorneys say was persistent abuse by Brennan, one of five elected Harbor Commissioners. It suggests years of Brown Act violations, staff harassment and overreach during a turbulent time within a district that stretches across San Mateo County but is focused on two harbors.

Grindy says Brennan yelled at him in person, belittled him on social media and online posts, and that she gave the press information about him that was shared in closed meetings. He says at one point he was averaging 16-hour workdays and was working seven days a week. He says he sought psychological counseling and that a doctor recommended he take time off to deal with depression and anxiety.

The period in question was perhaps the most troubled time in the district’s history. Several staff members left amid complaints of financial mismanagement that included misplaced checks and the purchase of computer equipment that was never installed. Meanwhile, the Local Agency Formation Commission reaffirmed in 2015 that the Harbor District had “zero sphere of influence” and was therefore inefficient and duplicated existing county services. LAFCo stopped short of calling for the dissolution of the district.

During the period, Commissioner Nicole David stepped down, citing health concerns.

In a statement issued on Friday, Brennan writes that the tort claims filed by both Galarza and Grindy are “unsubstantiated.” She writes that the most recent claim followed a letter from Grindy’s attorney requesting a severance package in exchange for a release of all claims. The district declined to make such a payment, she writes.

“A pattern of attacks on my credibility were first instigated by past General Manager Peter Grenell,” Brennan wrote. “For over 17 years, a culture of hostility flowed down the chain of command. Today the district’s culture has shifted in a positive direction and General Manager Steve McGrath is building a complementary team.”

Reached on Friday, attorney Martin Horowitz declined to specify what Grindy might ultimately seek in compensation. He said Grindy was not seeking re-instatement in his former position. Grindy is currently a harbor manager for the city and county of San Francisco.

(20) comments


I am waiting to see who runs for the four open seats on the harbor district this coming November. I hope Sabrina does. She has never quit or been recalled from a board.


The new GM Steve McGrath is busy cleaning up messes left by past mismanagement. This month McGrath sent a letter to Three Captains, a fish buying business located on Johnson Pier, the letter requires the removal of a hoist that Scott Grindy approved in a “handshake” deal.

Fish buyer must move hoist:


In 2013, Grindy organized a raid by federal Homeland Security and Immigration and Naturalization agents at Pillar Point Harbor.

HMB Review:

In 2009, Grindy conducted video surveillance of a neighborhood near the Port of Everett and residents complained of being spied on.

“In hindsight, we realize the golf balls are a public safety issue, not a threat to the terminals in terms of somebody breaking in,” port security director Scott Grindy told The Herald of Everett. “Aiming at the hillside probably wasn’t an appropriate use.”

The cameras, obtained with some of the more than $2.3 million in federal Homeland Security money for the port, never spotted any balls being hit, and the effort will not be resumed, Grindy told The Associated Press.

Associated Press:


Sabrina ran on a platform of change and within three years she delivered.

Are we surprised that past management is looking for a final payout as they slink off into the night? The cost of cleaning up corruption will save the Harbor District in the long run.


Hardly news. I have been saying for years that Leland Yee and Sabrina Brennan were hacks. One rooster already came home to roost, and soon Sabrina will get her come up-pence, but not just yet. She'll lay the ground work for pure evil manifested in her 'progressive' good intentions. Stay tuned.

John Charles Ullom

"She'll lay the groundwork for pure evil......."

Best line ever! Next thing you know the folks from Wesboro Baptist will show up with neon signs proclaiming "God Hates Sabrina" and "ThanK God for Poison Crab".

Thanks for the chuckle Thalassa. You might want to hook up with Allan Alifano who happens to know who the good guys are and aren't in these parts.

August West

Funny how John Lynch thought Leland Yee should be called "Saint Leland of the Coastside." And he is on Sabrina's side. And now Leland is a hardened criminal. This got real interesting real quick.


Someone appears to have stolen this woman’s photo and is using it to troll people.


Here's some more old news. I went to a public political function at Point Montara. At the function, I was introduced to Leland Yee. I shook his hand. We chatted a bit. I've been at Fire Board meeting where Sabrina Brennan was present and she even snapped a picture of me speaking to the Fire Board and may have captured my soul.

I shudder to think of the fate of all the innocent babies Leland Yee kissed to get elected over the years, all the people that interacted with him on legitimate government issues...

The Coastside political witch burners have now inscribed our names on the list of “pure evil”.

August West

Vince - were you included in the borderline illegal publication "Voice of the Coast" in 2005 without your approval? Or did you enjoy the publicity?


Off topic. Doesn't follow the rules of the website.

August West

More like inconvenient for you. What was good for you worked.


Hardly news. The San Mateo County voters voted for change at the San Mateo County Harbor District (SMCHD) and are getting it. Part of that process is new policies and procedures. Not all legacy employees want to be part of that change or agree with it. So, some employees leave. Public service employees are the most protected workers in the State as far as wrongful termination and workplace bias, when seeking their next position. So, there is more often litigation, when they leave a position, retire or disability retire. Thank the legislators in Sacramento for that.

Sabrina Brennan was uniquely qualified to handle the difficult transition as Board of Commissioners President. It was a difficult task with a split Board, new Commissioners, recalcitrant staff and the need to change Board policy. That was yesterday's news. Now, there is a Board of Commissioners moving forward with a new President and General Manager.

bigsea 940

the way the previous admins ran that place, and the mess we find ourselves in...if there is any thing left to say, it is that we'll save money in the end. Once an employee decides to sue his previous employer, they become toxic I'd think, a lifelong sentence of govt work. In addition, the line from signing checks left in a drawer, to drunken admins, to weasly lawsuits, the way they harassed occupied vessel owners at gunpoint, the sexist commission and their interactions with the new blood...That harbor was a mess and we all know it. That was the result of the lawsuit's plaintiff, his previous boss, and years of abusing their positions. In addition, the county, ahaem, the county used that harbor like a chip in a poker game.
Now we demand more
No wonder reminders pop up from time to time
Good riddance

John Charles Ullom

This is what Scott Grindy is all about: --

Notice how the good old boys reamed Nicole David. Notice how Holsinger asks if Ms David had defamed the harbor district.

I was there when Grenell denied knowing that the pipe were leaking poop even though there were emails from months earlier showing Grenell and Grindy knew it.

If you want a chuckle, Google Scott Grindy, Port Everett, Homeland Securty, and Golf Balls.


Why try to punish the taxpayers?

John Charles Ullom

That's like asking a bank robber why she robs banks.

It's because that's where the money is, silly!!

Tyler Durden

Its always good to put yourself in the shoes of the accuser: "Should I file a frivolous lawsuit seeking "compensation" or go out and get a new job and actually support myself?" I think we all know how he answered that question.

August West

Time to recall Ms. Brennan. How embarrassing.

John Charles Ullom

Good lord! Sabrina made Grindy work like a dog, seen days a week, 16 hours a day. She made him depressed. She made him lose sleep at night. She made him take the GM job and then she made him quit the GM Job. Just another poor Absued Public Employee looking to cash in like the pathetic Ms. Galarza.

Staff rules. Grindy was getting paid huge bucks just like the rest of the poor poor long suffering harbor district employees. Thery are so fragile.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

More Stories