Seattle City Light’s Carrasco: “I apologize.”
by Bill Lucia
Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco Credit: Credit: powerlines.seattle.gov
Embattled City Light general manager and CEO Jorge Carrasco apologized on Thursday for saying that he had not asked Mayor Ed Murray for a raise when in fact he had.
Carrasco also said he takes full responsibility for a contract the utility entered into with a reputation management firm that partly focused on polishing his online image, and for giving a pair of con men access to a City Light scrap facility, enabling them to steal two truckloads of metal. The City Light chief did not indicate that he had any plans to resign.
In a recent interview with KIRO Radio, Carrasco said that he had not asked the mayor for a salary increase. The Mayor's Office later said that Carrasco had. "There's been a question about how I responded to whether or not I wanted a pay raise, or asked for a pay raise, and I will be the first to admit that I handled the issue poorly, and my answer was wrong."
"For all of these things I apologize," he said during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Later, he added: "I was not trying to hide anything."
The City Light boss also said that he had told the mayor he had been approached about another "opportunity." He declined to specify what that opportunity was, but did say that it was not a job offer and that his preference all along was to stay in Seattle.
Referring to the contract with the online reputation management firm, Brand.com, Carrasco said: "It's been portrayed as if I were trying to burnish my image and that was not the intent."
"I don't make it a habit of Googling myself," he also said.
City Light is currently in the process of trying to get Brand.com to refund the $17,500 it spent on the contract.
At $245,000, Carrasco's salary is among the highest of any of the city's public employees. The Seattle City Council recently approved an increase in the pay range for his position, which would allow his annual salary to rise up to $364,481.
The mayor had said that he supported increasing Carrasco's pay to about $305,000. But on Wednesday Murray backtracked and said that there would be no raise for Carrasco. Instead the mayor said he would work with the City Council to come up with a new, independent process for determining the appropriate amount of compensation for the City Light job and other city positions.
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