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Originally published February 13, 2013 at 8:22 PM | Page modified February 13, 2013 at 8:41 PM

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Holland resigns from Port position after story on his problems

Port of Seattle Commissioner Rob Holland announced Wednesday he will resign March 15, eight months before the end of his first term.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Port of Seattle Commissioner Rob Holland announced Wednesday he will resign March 15, eight months before the end of his first term.

His decision comes days after a Seattle Times story detailing the problems of Holland’s three years in public office, including misuse of his Port credit cards, personal financial problems and tense relationships with Port staff and colleagues.

A Port news release said Holland resigned to pursue other professional opportunities. In his resignation letter, Holland wrote: “I am proud of my accomplishments during my tenure on the Port Commission.” He mentioned in particular his work to protect family-wage jobs and attract small and disadvantaged business owners to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

In a statement, Holland said: “I am grateful for the opportunity I had to serve the people of King County on economic justice issues and look forward to continuing my community service in other venues.”

Holland did not return calls or emails for comment.

Holland’s resignation leaves two seats vacant on the five-member commission. Gael Tarleton resigned last month to join the state House of Representatives.

The commission chose six finalists for her seat out of 29 applicants, and Commission President Tom Albro said the commission will now appoint two from that pool in early March.

The Port of Seattle Commission oversees Sea-Tac Airport, Fishermen’s Terminal, the local cruise-ship industry and the seaport. It hires and fires the Port CEO and represents the Port locally and around the world as it competes in an international market. Commissioners receive a stipend of about $500 a month.

Albro said Holland’s voice would be missed. “Rob has been a powerful advocate for working families during his service on the commission. He firmly believes that a rising tide must lift all boats, a sentiment that I know we all share.”

Holland, 39, grew up in Bremerton in a union family and graduated from Washington State University and Seattle University. He was elected in 2009 as the Port’s first African-American commissioner, backed by unions and small businesses.

But he said recently he was not sure he would run for re-election because he found his first term to be frustrating and difficult.

Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or eheffter@seattletimes.com On Twitter: @EmilyHeffter

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