James O'Brien said he will not attend a Port of Oakland commission meeting Tuesday covering his departure from the port because his presence would lend credibility to "a charade."
"I will not appear at the June 26 meeting because Mr. Gimpel's invitation is a charade," Mr. O'Brien said in a telephone interview. "My participation would give the appearance that the chief executive has taken the proper procedural steps, which he has not."I've already been terminated," he added.
As previously reported, Mr. O'Brien has accused Nolan Gimpel, port director, of firing him without cause and without authority, since that role is relegated to the port commission.
Mr. Gimpel, in turn, claims that Mr. O'Brien was not fired when he chose to clean out his offices June 19, but had only been placed on administrative leave with pay pending further board action.
Mr. O'Brien said in an interview that he received a letter from Mr. Gimpel dated June 20. In the letter, Mr. Gimpel reportedly wrote that he would recommend to the board that it dismiss Mr. O'Brien at its meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday and that it also abolish Mr. O'Brien's position as director of transportation services. The letter also reportedly said the port's structure was cumbersome and has resulted in costly redundancy.
Mr. Gimpel also offered Mr. O'Brien a chance to take part in a closed or open hearing on the issue.
Referencing the structure, Mr. O'Brien said this was part of the reorganization by the Kibel, Green consulting group formally adopted in June 1989. The consultants were paid $750,000 for their work. One of the stated objectives at that time was to minimize the number of reporting lines to the chief executive.
"Elimination of my position would presumably add to that," Mr. O'Brien said.