Nothing against state Reps. Zack Hudgins, Joe Fitzgibbon, Bob Hasegawa, and Gerry Pollet, nor Sens. David Frockt, Adam Kline or Sharon Nelson, but you'll remember when we first reported on the letter from a concerned batch of legislators about Port CEO Tay Yoshitani's dual gig at the Port and on the board of shipping logistics company Expediters International, we ended with this line:
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.
I guess the situation has escalated to a Level Five Jolt. The latest person to send a letter to the Port of Seattle Commissioners? The Speaker of the House, state Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43).
Although it has been reported that Mr. Yoshitani followed Port policy and cleared this decision with the Port’s general counsel, I believe that this decision needs more transparency and should be reviewed by the Port Commission in an open public meeting, in order to assure the public that no conflict of interest exists in this matter. Thank you for your time and consideration. Please give me a call if you would like to.
Four port commissioners have already issued statements: Port Commission President Gael Tarleton and Commissioner Rob Holland have called on Yoshitani to resign his spot on the Expeditors board if he wants to continue on as Port CEO; Commissioner John Creighton has called for outside counsel to review the situation; and Commissioner Tom Albro has stood by the deal.
The Port allowed Yoshitani to join the Expeditors board based on his employment contract, which they'd approved in March 2011, though Tarleton voted against it. She also noted her concerns at the August 2012 meeting when they discussed the Expeditors issue.
We have a call in to Yoshitani for a PubliCola "One Question."