Port CEO resigns under cloud of illegal employee payouts, says Business Journal
By Jack Mayne
Port CEO Ted Fick resigned Thursday (Feb. 2), but the Puget Sound Business Journal in an exclusive story Friday morning said he left under a cloud that he quit after “auditors briefed port officials on their probe into $4.7 million in additional compensation to hundreds of port employees.”
“The Washington State Auditor’s Office concluded the arrangement violated Washington state’s Constitution as an unlawful gifting of public funds, Kathleen Cooper, the auditor’s assistant director of communications, told the Business Journal.”
Money was given last year to 642 salaried employees and was discovered during a regularly scheduled accountability audit at the port, the Business Journal said in today’s edition following the Thursday resignation of Fick that some attributed to fallout from a drunk driving incident last year.
The Business Journal says State Auditor Kathleen Cooper “recommended the Port of Seattle conduct a legal review to decide if the public agency must take extra steps ‘to determine if repayment is necessary or required by the law.”
Fick is quoted in the article about his departure as saying “we are working through the details of my departure.”
“Port of Seattle Commission President Tom Albro declined to provide more information about the probe or payments ‘because we are looking at personnel issues,’” the Business Journal said, adding that the payments violated the state constitution “because they were not tied to specific job goal or performance requirements,” newly installed Auditor Cooper said, and are thus considered an inappropriate gifting of public funds.