Supreme Court OKs embattled port commissioner's recall

Chris Rizo Aug. 15, 2008, 10:32am

Pat Davis

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)-The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that Port of Seattle Commissioner Pat Davis may be recalled, allowing open government advocate Chris Clifford to proceed with collecting the signatures needed to recall Davis.

Davis' term ends Dec. 31, 2009. She announced Thursday she would not seek re-election, after serving on the five-member panel since 1986.

For the recall to move forward and place a recall question on the King County ballot, Clifford must collect approximately 150,000 valid signatures.

Clifford has accused Davis of malfeasance and for signing a memo that sought to extend payments of retired Port of Seattle Chief Executive Mic Dinsmore's $339,841 salary.

Other members of the panel say Davis did not act with their blessing, as she claims.

"We can infer from the record that Comm. Davis understood her duties as Port Commissioner and the legal necessity of voting in public session before potentially obligating the Port in any monetary agreement, and, for purposes of recall, intentionally acted outside the scope of these duties by signing an agreement with Dinsmore," the state high court ruled.

On Thursday, Davis said she had decided not to seek a sixth term before the Supreme Court's decision.

"I made a personal decision some time ago not to run for re-election," she said in a statement.

Davis said "out of respect for the process," she waited for the high court's ruling to make her decision public.

"I will dedicate my remaining time to finding solutions to our most serious challenge: keeping trade flows coming through our Pacific Northwest gateway in the face of global downturn," she said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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