Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani distributed a letter to Port employees yesterday apologizing for sending out an NRA-sponsored video featuring Ollie North. In the video, North, a hardline conservative who's infamous for being the middleman in the Iran-Contra affair in the mid-80s, praised US military actions in Iraq and lauded young Marines for “going to Bible studies and [religious] services."

UPDATE: Video embedded below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJfeD-I39CQ&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

As we first reported in Fizz today, Yoshitani distributed the video to Port colleagues, which concluded with a link to the National Rifle Association's web site and a request to donate to the NRA.

In his email, provided by the Port's corporate communications office, Yoshitani apologizes for violating the Port's employee code of conduct, which prohibits Port employees from using the Port's electronic systems to promote personal causes.

"Many employees have sent me emails thanking me for sharing this video.  However, I also understand that some employees were offended because of the messenger as well as the connection to NRA.  I was thinking only about our troops and didn’t think about the other possible implications," Yoshitani wrote.

Full email below the jump.



From: Yoshitani, Tay
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2010 4:53 PM
To: zzz-POS-Portwide
Subject: my earlier email

As you may have noticed, I sent an email out earlier today with a video I found inspiring.  I’m a veteran, and I’m passionate about supporting the men and women who serve our country in the armed forces.

With Memorial Day approaching, the video touched me deeply – thinking about the families who’ve sacrificed all on behalf of all of us.  That’s why I sent the link; I wanted to share something that inspired me, and to say thanks to those who serve - not to encourage people to give to a specific organization.  Many employees have sent me emails thanking me for sharing this video.  However, I also understand that some employees were offended because of the messenger as well as the connection to NRA.  I was thinking only about our troops and didn’t think about the other possible implications.

You can probably see this next part coming: Vickie Rawlins, our Workplace Responsibility Officer, brought it to my attention that my email violated the Employee Code of Conduct - just as would happen with any other employee.  (She’s not the only one to let me know, by the way!)  As those of you who have read the Code know, port employees – including the CEO – may not use our electronic systems to promote personal causes.  This is not what I was intending to do but, that’s the way it came out.

I had good intentions and in the quick pace of our work day, sent off an email to my colleagues that I shouldn’t have sent.

I am also heartened that several employees brought my mistake to my attention.  This is exactly what our Code of Conduct is intended to do: encourage us to hold each other accountable to the highest ethical standards.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Code of Conduct to re-read!

Sincerely,

Tay