Cohen & Steere: Question the wisdom of Port spending $9,600 on insurance for director who resigned

Our Port Commissioners voted on Wednesday to offer the recently resigned Port Director six months of Cobra health insurance coverage at a cost of $9600, paid for by the Port, meaning paid by the taxpayers. This decision is difficult to understand given they have expressed such extreme concerns regarding the Port’s finances. Their motivation for this was not clearly stated but they did infer that the former director was treated unfairly by the public and feel guilty about that. We just have to question if that is a good enough reason to spend public monies when they have had to eliminate positions due their worry of budget shortfalls.

We have been following what has been going on with the Port of Seattle and the trouble they are in regarding illegal compensation. The State Auditor found them in violation of the State constitution because the compensation given after the fact was not tied to goals and objectives and was therefore illegal. We would like to assume that our Commissioners have verified with their attorney and the State Auditor that this retroactive offer of compensation in the form of Cobra health insurance coverage is indeed either in his original contract or tied to goals and objectives and therefore permitted by the State. Unfortunately, given all that has transpired, we cannot assume these Commissioners will do the right thing so the question must be asked: “is this legal”?

Lauren Cohen & Derek Steere

San Juan Canvas - Port Tenants

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