While it pains me to throw barbs at my friends on the Seattle Times editorial board, I have to echo Josh Feit on Slog this morning in saying that their editorial defending Port Commissioner Pat Davis is wildly off the mark. I mean, what the fuck?
Davis singlehandedly approved a $261,000 severance package for retiring Port of Seattle CEO Mic Dinsmore, claiming that the other commissioners had approved the payments during a closed-door executive session. But at least three commissioners have refuted Davis, with one more refusing to comment out of fear of litigation.
“Pat claims it was authorized, and that she prepared it based on, well, whatever, I don’t know,” [Lloyd] Hara said.
Fisken said it made no sense for the commissioners to be discussing Dinsmore’s severance so far in advance of knowing his plans.
“This is outrageous, and I can’t imagine where it came from,” [Alec] Fisken said. “Pat said we had approved this, but I have no recollection of it at any meeting — it would still have to come to a formal vote for payments to be made.”
But dismissing the severance agreement as a “dead letter” without the approval of a majority of commissioners, the Times not only wants to sweep a potential investigation under the rug, but actually has the gall to demand that the other commissioners apologize and “get back to the people’s business.”
The fact that Davis apparently lied about the circumstances regarding the memo, and then refused to talk further to press, that’s not important to Times. The fact that Dinsmore sought to collect on this “dead letter,” I suppose that’s inconsequential. The fact that everybody involved seems to believe that Davis’ unilateral actions may end up dragging the Port into expensive litigation, well… um… there’s nothing to see here folks, so just move along.
What we have here is a story that broke in the competing Seattle P-I that calls into question the integrity of a commissioner the Times shilled for before the last election, praising her “strong institutional view.”
When the editorial board of our region’s largest paper attempts to stifle an ethics investigation of a commissioner responsible for spending hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, it makes one wonder what institution the Times was referring to?