Today's Losers are Seattle's Port Commissioners[pullquote]We are concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest and ethical issues raised by the Port of Seattle CEO’s dual employment on the board of directors of an international logistics company.[/pullquote]
Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-11, Tukwila), chair of the state house governmental appropriations and oversight committee, along with 12 other Puget Sound legislators, sent a letter to the Seattle's Port Commissioners today raising concerns about Port CEO Tay Yoshitani's new position as a board member of Expeditors International, a global freight logistics company.
"We are concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest and ethical issues raised by the Port of Seattle CEO’s dual employment on the board of directors of an international logistics company, Expeditors’ International, with direct economic interest in the Port’s operations," the August 24th letter begins.
And, directly questioning the commissioners, the letter concludes:
It appears to the public that Mr. Yoshitani may directly and personally benefit by giving Expeditors’ customers a competitive advantage over other Port of Seattle customers, and as Port CEO he has the power to prioritize his personal profit over the public mission of the taxpayer-supported Port of Seattle.
We understand the Port of Seattle Commission did not publicly review or approve the CEO’s outside employment, leaving that decision to one of the CEO’s subordinates. Under state law it is the Port Commission’s responsibility to supervise the managing officer of the Port. We are concerned about the precedent this sets for public officials, as well as the message this sends to Expeditors’ competitors, their customers and other Washington Ports.
Expeditors has been the subject of controversy. The Washington-based company was recently fined $5.5 million by the European Commission for its role in a price fixing effort.
Seattle-area Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, W. Seattle, Burien), Bob Hasegawa (D-11, Beacon Hill) Gerry Pollet (D-46, N. Seattle), and Sens. David Frockt (D-46, N. Seattle), Adam Kline (D-37, S. Seattle), and Sharon Nelson (D-34, W. Seattle, Vashon) all signed the letter.
That may not seem like most powerful list of legislators in Olympia, but the letter was also signed by house majority leader Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-47, Covington). Ouch. Now that qualifies as a jolt.