SEATTLE – The ex-Port of Seattle chief executive said Monday he wants to "clear the record and his good name" in the first public comments he made since he resigned last week.
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Ted Fick, who was CEO for less than three years, denied allegations against him in a performance review released by the port Friday. He responded in written comments to The Seattle Times (https://goo.gl/yCPZvp ) after declining an interview.
The internal documents say that that Fick covertly gave himself a $24,500 raise, inappropriately accepted gifts for travel and sporting events and potentially directed port business to his father's company, among other accusations.
Fick's raise, on top of his $350,000 salary, was part of a $4.7 million pay bump for over 600 employees that was given illegally, the state auditor's office said last week. The pay bump as a whole violated the state constitution because it wasn't tied to any performance standards or goals, according to the auditor's office.
Fick said the bonus was another commissioner's idea, although he recommended it, and that commissioners should have known he would get extra pay too. He also doesn't think his pay increase should be called secretive because he told commissioners he received the bonus once board members started asking questions about it months later. He said commissioners began to look for a scapegoat after the auditor began asking questions.
Fick also said accepting over $1,000 in event tickets and other gifts didn't violate agency code and that he didn't help steer port business to his father's company. He said the port never purchases a lubricant offered by his father and that he only asked a manager who his father should talk to about a potential sale.
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The former CEO lastly addressed a mention of an apparent sexual-harassment complaint in his review, saying a report that he asked a woman working as a port caterer for her phone number was "all a misunderstanding."
Fick said he was asking for the phone number of the caterer's general manager "so that I could compliment a job well done." He said the Port's human-resources staff investigated and found no wrongdoing.
A Port spokesman didn't respond to the newspaper's questions about Fick's comments.
He has also been facing a charge of driving under the influence after a Washington State Patrol trooper clocked him at 79 mph in a 50-mph zone last April.
The port operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, two cruise ship terminals and Fishermen's Terminal, home of the North Pacific fishing fleet, among other shipping terminals and marinas.
Chief Operating Officer Dave Soike, a 35-year veteran of the port, is serving as interim CEO.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com