Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Seattle Port Head’s Side Job Raises Concerns

The Seattle Port Authority says it has found no apparent conflict of interest in Port of Seattle Executive Director Tay Yoshitani’s decision to accept a position as a director with logistics company Expeditors Intl.

The Aug. 27 confirmation by the port authority followed an investigation brought on by an Aug. 24 letter signed by 13 King County, Washington legislators asking the Port of Seattle Commission to look more closely into various issues raised by Yoshitani’s acceptance of the second job, including conflict of interest.

In the letter, the lawmakers said that Yoshitani being on the board of Expeditors could result in the company’s clientele gaining a competitive advantage over non-Expeditors port customers.

However the port has said that it has carefully looked at the agreement and found that Yoshitani would not be in violation of any port rules or regulations.

Yoshitani, who has been the port’s executive director since March 2007, was announced as the newest member of the company’s board of directors Aug. 9. In his new role, he stands to earn more than $230,000 in annual compensation, on top of the nearly $367,000 a year he makes with the port.

His current employment agreement with Seattle, which expires in June 2014, has language stating that he can serve on the board of a company or other private entity on his own time as long as the port deems that the board membership doesn’t create a conflict of interest or violate the port’s ethics code.