The Northwest Seaport Alliance voted 8-1 to grant its CEO a 3 percent raise at its meeting Tuesday at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
CEO John Wolfe’s pay for running the alliance will increase from $300,000 a year to $309,000 a year starting April 1.
The alliance’s managing members are comprised of Ports of Tacoma and Seattle commissioners, 10 in all. The two ports placed all of their container business into the alliance more than a year ago to compete more strongly with larger West Coast ports.
All commissioners voiced support of Wolfe’s work during the alliance’s first year. The alliance hired a consultant to help assess Wolfe’s performance. The assessment was not immediately available.
“There was unanimous agreement that CEO Wolfe has done an outstanding job,” in navigating the legal and commercial challenges in forming an entirely new organization from two independent port authorities, said John Creighton, co-chair of the alliance and a member of the Port of Seattle commission.
Creighton said Wolfe must continue along that vein to “build a standalone operational and organizational culture” apart from the Tacoma and Seattle ports, which includes locating a separate headquarters for the Seaport Alliance.
Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Meyer cast the dissenting vote. He also opposed a $30,000 lump sum payment and continuing $2,500 monthly payment to Wolfe in August for Wolfe’s work solely on behalf of the Port of Tacoma.
Meyer agreed that Wolfe had done well for the alliance, but disagreed on a pay bump.
“I don’t care whether it’s homeport or alliance, it’s all public money,” Meyer said at the meeting. “I can’t go for another 3 percent increase.”