Embattled Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco says he’s sorry for a series of embarrassing events involving him and the utility.
Carrasco issued his apology in a news conference Thursday afternoon to address the issues, including his lying to KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz about whether he’d asked for a raise.
“I will be the first to admit that I handled the issue poorly and my answer was wrong,” Carrasco said.
“The fact is that I did expect that my compensation would be adjusted as a result of the City Council adjusting pay band and I did ask the mayor to raise my salary…I should have been more open about it and I regret that and I made a mistake and I’m admitting my mistake.”
Carrasco also apologized for City Light’s hiring of online reputation company Brand.com to bury stories critical of the utility and Carrasco and replace them with more positive stories. And he took responsibility for getting scammed by con artists posing as Native Americans he allowed to steal copper from the utility.
“These incidents do not reflect the values that I believe in and that I hold dear. And I would ask you and I would ask the public to judge me on the basis of the entire track record over the last 10 1/2 years,” he said.
While apologizing and admitting he lied when asked about seeking an increase to his $245,000 salary, Carrasco defended his request, saying the pay range for his position was supposed to be adjusted every two years but had only received one “modest” adjustment over the last 10 1/2 years.
Carrasco said he had been approached about several opportunities and notified the mayor about the most recent one, but that he preferred to stay with the utility in Seattle.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced Wednesday he would not give Carrasco a pay raise because of “judgment” issues, saying the issue had become a “political football.” The Seattle City Council authorized a pay raise of up to $119,000 for Carrasco last month.
When asked if he would seek a pay raise in the near future, Carrasco said he would not look at that now and instead focus on rebuilding trust and continuing the work of the utility. “And that issue should take care of itself,” he said of a future pay hike.