Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oakland Port Hires New Attorney

The Port of Oakland Commission has voted to hire former City Council member Danny Wan as the port’s new attorney, the port announced Nov. 21.

Wan is a former member of the Oakland City Council; he was appointed to a seat in 2000, and ran unopposed in 2002. He resigned from the Council in January 2005, saying he needed to find a higher paying job in order to care for his aging parents. At the time, he earned $63,000 a year.

After leaving the Council, he was a deputy attorney at the Port of Oakland, with his responsibilities primarily being in land use, environmental regulatory compliance, city charter compliance and inter-agency agreements. He left that role in 2008 to become city attorney and risk manager for the City of Morgan Hill, California.

“Mr. Wan brings to this position the ideal background – as public agency legal counsel and executive manager, as a public servant and as a former Deputy Port Attorney,” port Board President Gilda Gonzales said.

Wan, whose appointment is effective Dec. 17, was selected after a six month competitive recruitment process conducted by a global executive search firm that led to a pool of about 50 applicants, according to the port.

His hiring comes as the port is in the midst of an investigation into multiple unauthorized expenditures of public money, including $4,500 spent while entertaining shipping executives at a Houston, Texas strip club during a 2008 business conference and more than $500 in 2011 at a private karaoke bar that local media reports say is a haven for prostitution.

The scandal has led to the port retaining international law firm Arnold & Porter to serve as independent outside counsel in the on-going investigation and to the retirement of the port’s executive director, Omar Benjamin, last month.