Port of Seattle Commissioner Rob Holland put off indefinitely a proposal to allow commissioners to hire interns to act as personal assistants. At the port’s meeting this afternoon, Holland withdrew the budget amendment he had planned to introduce last-minute. He said he supports the proposal to have the five commissioners be able to hire their own assistants to help answer e-mail and phone calls, summarize meetings and analyze topics — but it needs further discussion.
Holland might not have had enough votes to pass the amendment to the Port’s 2013 budget. Commissioners Bill Bryant and Gael Tarleton had expressed concerns. Tarleton said Holland was looking for someone “to do his job” and Bryant said he wasn’t sure what problem the interns were intended to solve.
In a short statement today, Holland offered a defense of his proposal. Part-time port commissioners work hard running for office, taking time away from their families, holding full-time jobs, all in the interest of “the economic vitality of this region.” He added: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with … this body of people asking for individuals to come in and learn and train and be of assistance.”
Commissioner John Creighton, who had planned to second the amendment, said he was in favor of commissioners being able to hire interns, but the details needed work. Port CEO Tay Yoshitani said there is enough money in the Port budget to pay for the interns if the commissioners decide they want them mid-year.