Statement from Acting Executive Director Deborah Ale Flint
October 25, 2012
Statement from Port of Oakland Acting Executive Director Deborah Ale Flint
As I communicated to my Port of Oakland colleagues earlier today, the last week has been particularly challenging for our organization, our leadership, and our employees. I want to take this opportunity to share my perspective with the broader community that I am as disappointed as you are at the allegations of improper expenditures.
As the Acting Executive Director, I am compelled to investigate these issues thoroughly and make sure this organization is operating in a safe, secure, legal, and ethical way. I reassured my colleagues today that the investigation continues and that its purpose is to examine all allegations, discover whatever new information we can, get to the bottom of the situation, and ensure full accountability.
We also are aware of the intense media scrutiny into this situation and understand that some media will disclose additional, alleged improper expenditures in reports tonight. We are aware of these allegations and have already included them in our continuing inquiry.
Let me be clear: To date, we have no evidence of any kind that any criminal activity has taken place.
Additionally, since news of these allegations first became public, the Board of Port Commissioners and I have taken several decisive actions. They include:
- Executive Director Omar Benjamin and Maritime Director James Kwon have both been placed on paid administrative leave while the Port conducts an internal investigation and audit.
- The Port has hired international law firm Arnold & Porter to serve as independent outside counsel in the on-going investigation.
- On an interim basis, I, Deborah Ale Flint, who joined the Port in 1992, have assumed the duties of Executive Director.
The Port's commitment to this community, its business and labor partners, and its employees is unwavering. As I've already mentioned internally, we will be as transparent as the law allows, releasing whatever information we uncover that we legally can. The employees of the Port are dedicated; I respect, honor, and care for them deeply. These allegations and the media commentary thus far have been personally distressing, but none of it shakes my confidence that we will get to the bottom of this and then take the appropriate action.
Introspection can be a good thing, especially for a public agency like the Port, which is a $437 million per year operation that generates over 73,000 jobs in this region. It is unfortunate that such circumstances led to this introspection, but we will come out of this a better and stronger organization for it.
About the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport:
The Port of Oakland includes the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport offering over 300 daily passenger and cargo flights; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. Together, through Port operations and those of its tenants and users, the Port generates more than 73,000 jobs in the region and is connected to nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube and atwww.portofoakland.com.
Director of External Affairs
Port of Oakland