Emergency declared at Port of L.A.

Declaration allows the port district to suspend competitive bidding process for contracts and requires telecommuting as COVID-19 pandemic persists.

LOS ANGELES—The local emergency declared by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended to the Port of L.A. The port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners approved two resolutions on April 2, both imposing a declaration of emergency on port district business.

One resolution suspends the competitive bidding process for contracts during the duration of Garcetti’s emergency declaration. The second resolution affects personnel management. The L.A. Harbor Department, under the second resolution, would direct personnel to follow telecommuting protocols, as part of social distancing and other COVID-19 pandemic protocols.

“From time to time, the board is requested to adopt ordinances or resolutions previously adopted by the Los Angeles City Council … for application to and at the Harbor Department,” port district staff said in a report to commissioners. “Such requests are necessary, and not duplicative of the City Council action.

“Both resolutions … concern the COVID-19 pandemic and are an outgrowth of Mayor Garcetti’s March 4, 2020 Declaration of Local Emergency,” port district staff continued in its report.

The resolutions are considered administrative in nature and a necessary action to comply with emergency measures already in place as the city of Los Angeles attempts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Port district staff added the resolutions do not have any financial impact on the Harbor Department.

“The [resolutions seek] to provide flexibility to allow the Harbor Department to continue to operate as effectively as possible while addressing the requirements and exigencies arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” port district staff said.

Port district staff’s request to delegate authority to the port’s executive director during the length of the local emergency declaration was also approved.

The delegated authority would, according to port district staff, allow the executive director “to adopt those future resolutions of City Council, if any, related to the COVID-19 pandemic deemed in the exercise of [his] reasonable discretion … to be applicable and beneficial to the Harbor Department, its tenants, users and stakeholders.”

The resolution, port district staff added, also calls for “the use of telecommuting, reassignment of personal to other city locations, and leave time, including the approval of paid leave as necessary, to address COVID-19 pandemic.”

The port’s Board of Harbor Commission has been meeting virtually since social distancing and other COVID-19 mandates have been put into effect by the city and county of Los Angeles.

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