A Seattle City Council committee today approved a raise of up to $110,000 for Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco that would bring his salary to $364,000 a year. Carrasco already is the highest paid employee in the city, but other heads of public power companies make significantly more, the city personnel director Susan Coskey told the council committee.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray requested the raise, and it will be up to him to decide on the raise amount once the council approves a new range June 16. The request set off a discussion among committee members about how much a city employee should make. Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant argued that the city should buck the trend of CEO’s making much larger salaries than the average employee.
“I think everybody would agree that’s not a hardship salary,” Sawant said of Carrasco’s current $250,000 annual pay. She also noted the irony of the City Council Monday approving a $15 wage for the lowest-paid workers to counter the market trend of paying poverty wages for certain jobs. She said the city should allow the market to dictate wages for the highest paid employees.
The higher salary would be retroactive to Jan. 1. Councilmember Sally Bagshaw proposed an amendment that would have made the new pay rate take effect in July, but that failed on a tie vote, with Councilmembers Sally Clark and Tim Burgess voting no and Bagshaw and Sawant voting for the delay.
Carrasco was a finalist for a public power job in Arizona in 2011 that paid between $500,000 and $700,000.