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Port of Seattle CEO resigns amid payout probe

The commissioners of the Pacific Northwest port on Thursday accepted the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Ted Fick in a special meeting called specifically to discuss his departure, according to a statement from the commission.

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Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick is resigning from his post, effective immediately.

   Ted Fick, chief executive officer of Port of Seattle, Wash., is resigning from his post, effective immediately, according to a statement from the Pacific Northwest port.
   Port commissioners on Thursday accepted Fick’s resignation in a special meeting called specifically to discuss his departure.
   Current Chief Operating Officer Dave Soike, who has worked in various roles with the Port of Seattle for more than 35 years, will replace Fick as interim CEO, and the port will initiate a public process to find a permanent replacement later this year.
   Fick says he’s resigning to return to the private sector, but local media reports have speculated that his departure is related to an investigation into an alleged $4.7 million in potentially illegal payouts to port employees.
   State auditors discovered the payments, made last year to 642 salaried port employees, during a regularly scheduled accountability audit at the port, and briefed Port of Seattle executives on their findings during a private meeting Wednesday, according to a report from the Puget Sound Business Journal.
   Kathleen Cooper, the auditor’s assistant director of communications, told the Business Journal the arrangement violated Washington state’s Constitution as an unlawful gifting of public funds and that the auditor has advised the Port of Seattle to conduct a legal review “to determine if repayment is necessary or required by the law.”
   She said the payments violated the constitution because they were not tied to specific job goal or performance requirements.
   “We accept the resignation of Ted Fick, and acknowledge his desire to return to the private sector,” Port of Seattle Commission President Tom Albro said in a statement. “We are currently working through the details of his departure and will defer further comment until those details are resolved.”

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