At the time of the firing of Lester many of us were concerned that the real reason behind his dismissal was the desire on the part of Commissioners to be able to control the staff and make their staff recommendations developer friendly. Unfortunately the document that is posted on the Commission's website as the outreach for candidates is written in a way that does just that. It calls for a change in the "culture" of the commission to one of "customer service." In other words, it considers the developers its customers and its mission is to serve them. It shows no concern for upholding the Coastal Act or the importance of the public. It also does not put into the requirements anything about maintaining an independent staff or an atmosphere that inspires staff and allows them to function. This is precisely what we were concerned about.
I strongly suggest that you go to the website. Go to the home page, www.coastal.ca.gov. Then, scroll down to "Now Accepting Public Comments on Executive Director Search Criteria." Click on that link and then go to August 26, 2016 and click on "Draft Recruitment Materials: Memo."
Read the document and then send in your comments ASAP. When you do I suggest that you include your concerns, if you have them, about:
- Changing the culture of the commission to be "customer" (developer) friendly.
- Failing to recognize that the function of the Commission is to uphold the Coastal Act and serve the public.
- Failing to provide direction to maintain an independent staff and allow that staff to function in a way that they are not "captured" by the commissioners in the majority.
- Failing to indicate that one of the things necessary is for the ED to provide leadership that instills confidence in the staff and results in low turn-over.
Please get your comments in quickly since they are working right now on a revised draft which will be out this Friday and discussed at the October hearing.