Ted Fick, the CEO of the Port of Seattle, which is a major player in the inbound tourism industry in the U.S. Northwest, has resigned his post after it was revealed that he had engaged in a number of irregularities while serving in the position, which he had held since September 2014.
Drawing upon documents contained in an internal review of Fick’s performance, the Seattle Times reported a list of particulars included the following, which led to Fick’s resignation:
- In December 2015, the Port’s commissioners approved a Fick proposal to give all nonunion employees of the Port of Seattle a 7 percent lump-sum payment in December 2015. However, Fick didn’t tell the commission approving the raise that he would also be taking the extra pay—equal to $24,500, in addition to his $350,000 salary.
- Fick approached port officials in spring 2015 to relax requirements banning gifts to senior port officials. The port ultimately carved out an exemption for occasional gifts to senior managers when tickets and other event attendance was related to official duties. Fick then reported gifts worth $1,100 over the next year for attending three Seattle Mariners games, a University of Washington football game, a Seattle Sounders soccer game and round-trip Clipper cruise tickets to Victoria, B.C.
The port’s consultant and legal department concluded that most, if not all, of the tickets violated the port’s code of ethics.
- It was noted that some of the groups giving the gifts had direct dealings with the port. The UW football tickets, for instance, were given by a senior vice president of Alaska Air Group — the largest carrier at the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, which the Port oversees.
- In another instance, the port’s dental insurance provider gave tickets to Seattle Mariners baseball games, while other baseball gifts were given by a King County Council member.
- Fick once asked an employee about a product his father’s company was selling that would help ease the removal of bolts. Some employees at the port interpreted the question as a mandate from the Fick to buy the product, and they did purchase it for $324 using port funds. The report noted that port officials were concerned that this action, like the secret pay raise and the tickets, also brought no consequences for Fick.
At the same time, outside executives and commission members conducting an internal review of Fick’s job last month found “a dramatic drop” in confidence in Fick’s integrity.
- Also, Fick also was hit with a DUI charge last April. “The commission is not as concerned as much (with) Ted’s DUI as it was about his thinking on how to deal with the issue. … It took a lot of commission effort to convince him that he needed to tell his staff and make a public statement right away,” one commissioner wrote in Fick’s performance review.
After these findings were presented to the commission, its board directed Fick to go on leave, Port Commission President Tom Albro said. He did, and then resigned on Feb 1st.