The Port of Seattle has moved to terminate police Chief Rodney Covey’s employment after a lengthy investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct, according to two people briefed on the Port’s decision-making.
Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel matters.
Covey has been on paid administrative leave since June 2020, when the investigation began.
The Port declined to share the substance of the allegations. But Port police Officer Yandle Moss said in a lawsuit last summer that Covey had been placed on leave after Moss, who is Black, filed an internal complaint accusing Covey of racial discrimination. Moss, whose suit in King County Superior Court revolved around the Port’s alleged refusal to produce documents related to its investigation of his complaint, settled with the Port in February. He declined to comment on Covey’s employment status, citing terms of an agreement with the Port.
The Port of Seattle did not confirm it had recommended firing Covey. In an emailed statement, spokesperson Peter McGraw said the Port had “informed Chief Rod Covey of its recommended discipline based on a careful and thorough review of an investigator’s findings and conclusions.” McGraw declined to comment on what the Port’s “recommended discipline” entailed.
“Chief Covey has an opportunity to respond and provide additional information before a final decision is made,” McGraw said. “The Port will fully consider Chief Covey’s response. Until that time, Police Chief Covey remains on paid administrative leave.” Covey earned $215,415 last year, the Port confirmed.
Reached by phone, Covey declined to comment other than to say he was disappointed that the outcome of the investigation had reached the public.
Deputy Chief Michael Villa has been serving as acting Port chief of police.
Seattle Times investigative reporter Daniel Gilbert contributed reporting.