Stockton Record
May 4, 2011

STOCKTON – The Port of Stockton’s longtime legal counsel is out and Steve Herum, who resigned his seat on the port commission to take the job, is in.

No announcement of the change had been made, but Herum was seated in the counsel’s chair Monday afternoon as the port commission held its regular meeting. Thomas Shephard Sr., a partner at Neumiller & Beardslee in Stockton, had held the position for more than 11 years.

Port Director Richard Aschieris, who holds sole authority over selection of the agency’s legal counsel, said the change came after the previous commission meeting April 18.

He said he selected Herum, a partner at Herum Crabtree in Stockton, because of his strengths and expertise, which include serving 11 years on the port commission.

“Knowing the experience that Mr. Herum has, I just decided that it was an appropriate time,” Aschieris said. “With some of the (future) projects we have, I just thought I’d like to have his help on them.”

“I really think Tom (Shephard)’s done a good job for us,” Aschieris said. “It was just a call I had to make.”

Shephard was out of town Tuesday and unavailable for comment.

Herum said it was a difficult decision to resign his commission seat last month after serving the port for 11 years.

“It was the right thing to do for the good of the port,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful experience to be a commissioner.”

The resignation leaves a vacancy on the seven-member commission. It will be up to the Stockton City Council and the mayor to decide on a replacement for the remainder of the term, which runs through Feb. 24, or perhaps appoint someone for the next full term, Aschieris said.

“That’s completely their decision,” he said Tuesday. “I will work with whoever is appointed and whenever they are appointed.”

While service on the port commission is unpaid, Aschieris said openings usually attract numerous candidates.

Commission members help oversee an operation that generates about $30 million a year in revenues and acts as an economic engine, providing jobs, housing commercial and industrial businesses and serving as a regional transportation hub.

“For people who are interested in serving their community, it’s a great way to do that,” Aschieris said.