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Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - Page updated at 04:30 p.m.
Port sees no conflict in chief's outside board position
By Drew DeSilver
Seattle Times business reporter
The Port of Seattle's top lawyer reviewed port CEO Tay Yoshitani's appointment to the board of directors of Expeditors International and found nothing that would prevent him from taking the post, Port Commissioner Tom Albro said Tuesday.
In a letter to 13 King County legislators who last week expressed concerns about Yoshitani's joining Expeditors' board, Albro noted that Yoshitani's employment agreement expressly allows him to serve on corporate boards, so long as he does so on his own time and there's no conflict of interest.
Yoshitani's appointment "was reviewed by the port's general counsel to ensure compliance with the port's Code of Conduct for employees and for any potential conflict of interest before he joined the board," Albro's letter stated.
Seattle-based Expeditors is a logistics and freight-forwarding company. Earlier this month it named Yoshitani to its board, a post that pays more than $230,000 a year in cash and stock.
The lawmakers, led by Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Seattle, had said last week in their own letter that the commission itself, rather than just the general counsel, should examine Yoshitani's appointment for any ethical issues.
Albro responded that if the lawmakers had any "specific information regarding a conflict of interest" as defined in law, they should make a formal legal complaint to the commission. The Port's auditors, as well as commission's audit committee, will monitor Yoshitani's board service to make sure it complies with his employment contract, Albro added.
Drew DeSilver: 206-464-3145 or firstname.lastname@example.org