Harbor board member Brennan files another grievance against district’s manager

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Witer

Embattled San Mateo County Harbor District Commission member Sabrina Brennan has filed a complaint alleging “retaliation” by General Manager Steve McGrath, making McGrath the third general manager against whom she has filed a grievance in the past five years.

Brennan said in a written complaint that she’s asked McGrath to put items on the board’s agenda, but they are “routinely not heard during meetings and deleted by Mr. McGrath.”

She said that McGrath “lacks equity.”

“In the past, when I have voiced concerns about Mr. McGrath’s unequal behavior towards me he has responded by saying that he only works for three commissioners,” Brennan said in her complaint. The
elected harbor district board has five members.

Brennan claimed that McGrath is “acting as a surrogate” for fellow board member Tom Mattusch.

Last year, Brennan filed a sexual harassment claim against Mattusch, alleging he sent her inappropriate images. Her claim is under investigation by an attorney for the district.

All out in the open

McGrath had the option to have the complaint against him behind closed doors since it could be considered a personnel matter, and thus confidential under the state public meetings law. But McGrath opted to have “the complaint heard in open session rather than in a closed session,” according to a report from District Counsel Steven Miller.

McGrath is the district’s fourth general manager since Brennan was elected in November 2012.

Three of the managers — Peter Grenell, Glenn Lazof and now McGrath — have been the subject of complaints from Brennan, records show.

All four had run-ins with Brennan.

A civil grand jury report in 2014 said there were harassment complaints flying between “a commissioner and the district’s general manager,” which was Grenell, who left that same year. The same grand jury report recommended dissolving the district, turning its operations over to the county government.

The next manager was Scott Grindy, who had the title of “interim general manager” from October 2014 to May 2015. While the Post wasn’t able to find any formal complaint Brennan had lodged against him, the two had numerous disagreements. He filed a complaint against her, saying she “engaged in a relentless campaign of undermining, vilifying and threatening” him and other district employees. He said her unrelenting personal attacks and threats caused his health to decline, forcing him to see a psychiatrist.

Turns her back to interviewee

Brennan’s animosity toward Grindy was on display at an Oct. 15, 2014, meeting when the board of directors was to interview him for a promotion. Brennan “turned her chair so that she had her back to him and refused to ask questions or otherwise participate in the interview,” his claim stated.

The district later paid out $103,300 to Grindy in a settlement.

After Grindy, the next interim general manager was Glenn Lazof, who served from May 2015 to No- vember 2015. A Sept. 2, 2015, agenda of the harbor board indicated that Brennan had filed a complaint against Lazof. She complained about a memo Lazof had written asking district employees not to talk to her. She said at the Sept. 2, 2015, meeting that she wanted to be treated the same as the other four board members.

Now she’s making a similar complaint against Lazof’s replacement, McGrath, who took over in No- vember 2015.