LONG BEACH — Is there ever a time when the word interim or acting preceding a job title is ever removed of insecurity or uncertainty? Elvira Hallinan served as acting director of Marine Operations for almost a full calendar year when she finally was appointed to director at the Long Beach Marine Advisory Commission, Sept. 11.
Hallinan spent a few minutes chatting with The Log about officially becoming the new director of Long Beach’s marina operations.
How will your past experience help you both manage a department and the nation’s largest municipal marina?
While it seems like a new position, in some ways it is not. I had been working as a manager in the Long Beach Marina system for three years prior to being made the acting bureau manager. My position as the Special Projects officer was the second in command and I worked closely with my predecessor who willingly shared his knowledge, experiences and delegated tasks that gave me the opportunity to learn the specifics of marina operations. I’ve been involved in the day-to-day aspects of the marina management for a few years. I’ve simply moved from the background to the forefront.
My background in general administration and personnel brings with me a network of individuals and the experience within the system to obtain resources and support for the needs of the marina. I’ve developed the leadership skills needed to form and lead a team of employees passionate about their jobs. We are fortunate to have staff with years of knowledge and experience.
What has been accomplished during your one-year tenure as the interim manager? Is there anything you can build on now that the interim status has been dropped?
Besides the accomplishments listed below regarding the Alamitos Bay Rebuild, there have been several behind the scenes changes involving the building of relationships with boat owners, retail operators, concessionaires, yacht clubs, and other interested parties. Each of whom has shared ideas on how to improve the experiences of our customers and visitors. Marine Bureau staff, Boat Owners Association representatives, and volunteer boat owners have worked together on reviewing the Marina Rules and Regulations. A summary of the proposed revisions will be submitted to the Marina Advisory Commission for ratification in winter 2015. Marine Patrol staff has been instrumental in identifying issues that need addressing in order to keep the marinas safe; together we have implemented need changes and acquired necessary resources. Marine Safety staff has been invaluable in assisting me with educating various players on the safety requirements of recreational boating and navigational waters. I am looking forward to our continued collaboration.
In addition to the marinas, the Marine Bureau is responsible for the seawalls, beaches, marine stadium, and launch ramps.
What is the progress of the Alamitos Bay Marina rebuild? How will you address the rebuild’s funding challenges? How much additional funding is needed?
We completed Basin 5, obtained the dredging permit for Basins 2 and 3, are half way through the completion of the utility spine for Basins 2 and 3, obtained $10.9 million for phase 5 and signed a contract with BMI for the reconstruction of phase 5 of the project. We are currently in the process of planning the logistics for the next phase.
At present we are working on the sale of revenue bonds and additional funding from the Division of Boating and Waterways. In order to complete the water portion of the rebuild in round numbers we need an additional $50 million.
What is your relationship like with the Marina Advisory Commission and how will you work with them now that you are officially the operations manager?
I have an excellent relationship with the commissioners. Weeks after my appointment as acting manager, I was approached by several commissioners who encouraged me to apply for the permanent post and stated that they would provide letters of support. As we work towards common goals, their perspectives and wisdom will be a great contribution towards making slips in the Long Beach Marinas the most sought after slips in this area.
Are there any plans to update other portions of the city’s marina space?
Maintenance Operations staff and I have been discussing the upgrade of boater restrooms, parking lots and landscaping. While a formal plan is not yet completed, we are reviewing our operational budgets with the intent of investing in our infrastructure.
Do you have any experience or background in boating?
At the age of 12 my father taught me to skipper and dock the family boat, along with boating safety and the “rules of the water road” as we called them in our family. My husband and I have taken the same approach with our daughter on our vessel.
How do you plan to reach out to boaters and what do you feel needs to be done to have the city maintain a healthy relationship with them?
We are currently working on a Facebook page that will keep the boaters informed of the changes, events, etc. that may be of interest to them; a Twitter account will follow.
I already walk the docks from time to time and will continue to do so. I am in regular contact with several members of the Boat Owners Association. On a more formal note, I plan on discussing the placement of boat owner issues of importance on the meeting agenda that require a management response.
In order to keep a healthy relationship, we need open communication and mutual respect. Throughout the rebuild process, the Marine Bureau has communicated with the boat owners via the Marina Reader, city website, and email blasts. Boat owner input was an integral part of the rebuild of the boat owner restroom in Basin 4.