In an unprecedented move by the mayor of Long Beach, Bob Foster, the city council voted to remove harbor commissioner and board president Thomas Fields. The mayor and Mr. Fields have disagreed on many issues including a proposal by Fields to move the port’s headquarters to downtown Long Beach. The mayor cited “excessive travel” as reason for recommending his firing. Fields, however, said the trips to Asia and Europe were necessary to meet with ocean carrier executives during a period of unparalleled upheaval in the industry.
Many industry officials, ocean carriers and terminal operators see the removal of Fields as very unsettling for the Port of Long Beach. During a time of intense change, expanded vessel sharing agreements and consolidation, the port has neither an executive director nor a deputy executive director and now two vacant port commission seats with the removal of Fields and resignation two days later of Nick Sramek. Former executive director, Chris Lytle, left Long Beach over the summer for the top spot at the Port of Oakland. With all that drama, bet he’s never looked back.