San Francisco taxicab commission votes to dismiss executive
By Angela Hokanson, Bay City News Service
June 28, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The executive director of the San
Francisco Taxicab Commission was removed from her position by
a 4-2 vote at the commission's Tuesday meeting, according to Tristan
Bettencourt, a senior administrative analyst with the commission.
The commission cast its vote to remove Heidi Machen after about
three hours of deliberation, Bettencourt said. The discussion
around Machen's performance as executive director happened in
closed session, and Bettencourt declined to comment on the reasoning
behind the decision to oust Machen.
Commissioners Martin Smith, Mary McGuire, Patricia Bresslin,
and Michael Kwok voted to remove Machen. Commissioners Paul Gillespie
and Min Paek voted not to remove Machen.
The review of Machen's performance was put on the agenda by Smith,
the commission president.
Machen has served as the commission's executive director since
August of last year. Machen, a former aide of San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom when he was a San Francisco Supervisor, was chosen
for the executive director post by Newsom from a list of candidates
prepared by the taxi commission, Bettencourt said.
The commission's executive director administers the commission,
hires the commission staff and develops the commission's programs
and procedures, Bettencourt said.
Machen had been working on initiatives such as creating a health
care program for taxi drivers and increasing the number of hybrid
taxi vehicles in the city, according to Bettencourt.
Newsom said today he was concerned about the process that led
to the removal of Machen, according to the mayor's office of communications.
Newsom is consulting with the City Attorney's office and the
city's human resources department on the situation, according
to the mayor's office.
The commission does have the authority to remove its executive
director, the mayor's office reported. The Taxicab Commission
was created to make sure taxi service in the city is honest, effective,
and fair, according to the commission's Web site.
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