The Port of Oakland is instituting new spending limits, credit card policies and restrictions on travel for workers and the board of commissioners met Thursday to discuss those changes.
The Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners heard proposed policy changes Thursday afternoon, as part of an effort to increase public trust in the wake of a spending scandal uncovered by KTVU, which included port officials' visits to strip clubs.
"For all of us who experienced that very painful time in our organization's history, that I am celebrating this, though it is a work in progress," said Board president Gilda Gonzalez.
After 13 years with no formal purchase card policy, there's now spending limits. Currently, 30 percent fewer employees hold company cards as compared with last year. Also, mandatory ethics training has been proposed.
"It is really a milestone in our commitment to the public to respond after we learned of serious challenges and actions by senior leadership," said Deborah Ale Flint, the Port's acting executive director.
Also being discussed was an $80 per diem for meals per person while traveling and hosting and airfare within North America must now be coach. Port leaders said they're pushing to change the culture of the organization.
"Previously, we didn't have a succinct value code of conduct. We now have declaration of value principles even more than that we have required ethics training," Flint said.
Flint highlighted one major change.
"You can see more reporting today," she said. "Board's report of travel expenditures reported for the first time ever 27 as part of our public agenda and you'll see more staff and activities of the port."
The purchase card changes go into effect Friday, the other are slated to be in place by May or June.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.