Friday, September 28, 2012

Seattle Port Commissioners Hire CEO Investigation Team

The Port of Seattle Commission announced on Sept. 25 that Commissioners Tom Albro and Rob Holland have hired legal counsel and an ethics expert to review the port’s position that CEO Tay Yoshitani serving on the board of directors of Expeditors International does not represent a conflict of interest.

Those hired by Albro and Holland are: Gerry Alexander, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington from 2001 to 2010, who’s now with the firm of Bean, Gentry, Wheeler & Peternell in Olympia; Russ Perisho, former partner at Perkins Coie from 1978 to 2008. He’s currently in sole practice in Poulsbo; and LeeAnn Pelham, former executive director of the City of Los Angeles Ethics Commission from 2001 to 2011.

On Sept. 11, the Commission unanimously passed a motion requesting a review and timeline of pertinent events from March 1, 2011 to Sept. 10, 2012 that led to Yoshitani’s acceptance of the board position with Expeditors, a Seattle-based for-profit logistics company.

Yoshitani, who has been the port’s executive director since March 2007, was announced Aug. 7 as the newest member of Expeditors’ board of directors. In the role, he stands to earn more than $230,000 in annual compensation – consisting of $30,000 in cash and up to $200,000 in restricted stock options – on top of the nearly $367,000 a year he earns at the port.

The Seattle Port Authority said in August it has found no apparent conflict of interest in the arrangement.

The outside counsel and ethics expert are expected present their reports and offer any recommendations for improvements or changes to the port’s and Commission’s ethics policies during the Commission’s Oct. 23 public meeting.