Topsy-Elvord to retire from Long Beach port commission
Long Beach Harbor Commissioner Doris Topsy-Elvord has announced she will retire from the commission June 30.
Topsy-Elvord joined the board in 2003 after more than four decades of public service, including eight years as the first African-American woman elected to the City Council.
During her tenure at the port, which included a year as board president in 2005, Topsy-Elvord was instrumental in the expansion of the port's Small Business Enterprise Program.
Port of Long Beach commissioners are nominated by the mayor and appointed by the City Council to serve a six-year term. Commissioners may be reappointed for a second term. Due to the economic importance of the port as the nation's second-busiest container port, Long Beach commission seats are considered one of the most powerful appointed positions in the city government.
Nominated for the port position by then-Mayor Beverly O'Neill, Topsy-Elvord became the first African-American and only the third woman to serve on the five-member port commission in its nearly 80-year history. She was appointed to fill a spot vacated by John Kashiwabara, who retired in late 2002 shortly after starting his reappointment to a second six-year term on the board.
Topsy-Elvord called her five years on the commission “some of the most challenging and rewarding of my career.”
Topsy-Elvord is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, with a bachelor’s degree in social welfare and earned a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Chapman College. She worked with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the California Youth Authority and the Los Angeles County Probation Department as a Deputy Probation Officer for 19 years before retiring in 1988.