Tuesday, October 8, 2013

POLA Executive Director Stepping Down

Just days after another high-ranking Port of Los Angeles executive announced his resignation, POLA Executive Director Geraldine Knatz says she’s stepping down at year’s end.

“After 42 years of dedicated service to the maritime industry here in San Pedro Bay, I have decided to retire as Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles and pursue other interests,” Knatz said in a statement released Oct. 3 by the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “In a commitment to a smooth transition, I plan to remain in my position through the end of the year and support the mayor and the port in any way that I can. I am proud of the many accomplishments that our team made at the Port of Los Angeles during my tenure.”

Knatz, who was appointed executive director in 2006 by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, will probably be best remembered for playing an instrumental role in the creation and implementation of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, which reduced port-related sulfur oxide, diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emission levels by 76 percent, 71 percent and 51 percent, respectively, between 2005 and 2011.

During her tenure, she also paved the way for the Los Angeles Harbor Commission to approve three major container terminal expansion projects and a new deep-draft marine oil terminal on Pier 400.

Knatz, who began her maritime career as an environmental scientist at the Port of Los Angeles in 1977, was managing director of the neighboring Port of Long Beach from 1999 to 2005 before returning to the Port of LA.

“I thank Dr. Knatz for her service to Los Angeles,” Garcetti said. “My agenda for the port is focused on maximizing its economic impact and minimizing its environmental impact to build stronger neighborhoods in the Harbor area and across Los Angeles.”

According to the mayor’s office, City Engineer Gary Lee Moore will serve as acting general manager of the city’s Harbor Department until a permanent general manager is appointed, and Chief Deputy City Engineer Deborah Weintraub will serve as the Interim Chief City Engineer.

The news of Knatz’ departure came just three days after Deputy Operations Director John Holmes announced he was stepping down. Holmes, who joined the port in December 2006, is a retired Coast Guard captain. At the port, he was in charge of overseeing the operations of the Los Angeles Port Police, the Homeland Security Division, emergency preparedness planning and the Port Pilot service.

Garcetti, a former City Councilman who was elected mayor in May, said in an interview with a local CBS affiliate, that the management changes at the port were due to his wanting to pick his own leadership for various positions.

“I’m looking to start a new chapter. By mutual agreement, we’re moving on with leadership here,” he told KCBS-TV.

The adjoining Port of Long Beach is also looking for new leadership- its executive director, Chris Lytle, stepped down in July to accept to same job at the Port of Oakland. Al Moro, Long Beach’s chief harbor engineer, is serving as interim executive director while the port conducts a search for a new leader.