Seattle Mayor: City Light CEO Won't Get Controversial Raise After All

Jul 2, 2014

Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco will not receive a six-figure raise after all, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Wednesday.

The Seattle City Council recently authorized a pay hike of up to $119,000 per year for Carrasco, who currently earns $245,000 annually as the highest paid city employee. The raise was slated to take effect on July 1.

However, Murray, who previously supported a higher salary for Carrasco, said he has reversed his decision in light of questions recently raised regarding the utility CEO’s judgment.

"The issue of the salary band itself remains something that needed to be adjusted. But because of the questions that have come up —  again not on my watch, but I discovered them on my watch — I'm not willing to give a salary increase," Murray said.

Last month, the Seattle Times reported Carrasco had lost $120,000 worth of scrap copper to two thieves claiming to be members of the Cherokee Nation. The men had shown up, unannounced, at the utility’s office, asking for copper donations they intended to use to teach jewelry-making to disabled children, the paper said. Once given access to the utility's facilities, the men managed to make off with 20 tons of copper, according to the utility.

The Times also reported Seattle City Light paid $17,000 to Brand.com, an online reputation-management company, last year to drown out critical stories about Carrasco in search results.

The mayor on Wednesday said Carrasco had asked for a raise, and had also told city officials he was considering other jobs. However, these weren’t the reasons he had approved the raise, the mayor said; Murray has previously said the proposed raise would make Carrasco’s pay competitive with other utility CEOs.

“In neither case did I feel pressured by him,” Murray said, adding he is not looking for a new CEO.