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Dori Monson: We have a leadership void in the city of Seattle

KIRO Radio's Dori Monson says there is a void of leadership in the City of Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Taken from Wednesday’s edition of The Dori Monson Show.

We have a real void of leadership in the city of Seattle. Ed Murray is not the guy to be running the city. Did Ed Murray do the right thing today in not granting a raise to Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco? Absolutely. But right now, The Seattle Times and KIRO Radio seem to be the only ones who are holding the city leaders accountable because they are not watching out for the taxpayers.

It was just a week ago when Ed Murray was saying this about Carrasco: “We are lucky to have Jorge as the superintendent. He could go anywhere in the nation in the public or private sector. I think that would be a loss to the city.”

Then, in the week after Ed Murray said that, The Seattle Times reveals that Jorge Carrasco hired an online branding company for $47,000 to improve his personal image, and KIRO Radio exposes that Jorge Carrasco lied about asking for a pay bump.

So now this week, Ed Murray is saying: “We have found out about contracts. I’m not happy about those contracts as I said. They didn’t happen on my watch. I don’t think they were appropriate. It raises questions of judgment and trust. I’ve decided the salary bandwidth should stay there, but at this time, I’m not willing to raise the superintendent’s salary.”

So here is my question for Ed Murray: Why didn’t you do the investigating that The Seattle Times did before trying to give away $120,000 tax dollars a year? Why didn’t you do the kind of integrity search of this guy that KIRO Radio ended up doing?

Because he was your buddy, because he was a crony, because like with everybody else in Ed Murray’s realm, if it’s an insider, if it’s Chris Gregoire’s son-in-law, whoever, he’ll give away $100,000 without doing a check.

It took the media to hold the City of Seattle accountable here. The mayor was very close to giving away that money. KIRO Radio Reporter Tim Haeck received a response to an inquiry of the mayor’s office on Tuesday that seems to indicate Carrasco was set to get a $60,000 raise.

Tim’s message to the mayor’s office said: Has the mayor approved a pay raise for Jorge Carrasco? If so, how much?

Mayor’s office response: Contract is not yet finalized but would be effective July 1, 2014 @ $305k annually.

So that’s a $60,000 raise.

KIRO Radio’s Brandi Kruse was present as the mayor announced Carrasco would not be getting the raise at an unrelated press conference on Wednesday.

“You have to believe that it’s solely because of the controversy that his mind could change between yesterday and today,” said Brandi.

This is what I’m talking about when I say I’ve never seen a lack of leadership like we’re seeing with Ed Murray. He’s spinning like a top on this one.

Brandi also got the opportunity to ask the mayor about why his office wouldn’t give a straightforward answer when KIRO Radio followed up to see whether Jorge Carrasco was telling the truth in the interview with Jason Rantz where he said he didn’t asked for a raise. Here’s what the mayor had to say when Brandi asked him why they wouldn’t give us a straight answer:

Murray: Regrettably, my office could not get a hold of me because I would have given you a straight question. Those who’ve worked with me in the press for 18 years know that I don’t hesitate from sharing exactly what I think.

Brandi: So if we rewind to Friday at 1 p.m. and I called you and said Mr. Mayor Jorge Carrasco told us he didn’t ask for a raise.

Murray: I would have told you that he indicated that he would like a raise. He also indicated that he was looking at other places to have a job. In neither case did I feel pressured by him, and his request around the raise was a continuation of a discussion that had happened under my predecessor, but it also happened under two predecessors ago, so it was nothing new.

But several days passed before the mayor’s office provided a useful response to the yes or no question of whether or not Jorge Carrasco had asked for a raise.

“Everyone wanted an answer to the question we had asked,” said Brandi. “So there was so much pressure Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday to answer that yes or no question. If the mayor’s staff truly couldn’t reach him on Friday, could they also not reach him on Saturday and on Sunday and on Monday?”

When the whole issue is Jorge Carrasco lied, that answer for Ed Murray is very troubling to me. This is ridiculous for him to say that for four days he couldn’t be reached. I know he didn’t specify that they didn’t reach him for four days, but his office stuck to that story for four days, so either he’s being very poorly served by his communications people or he’s lying right there.

I want to know if Ed Murray was telling the truth on tape with Brandi. If he said that his staff couldn’t get a hold of him for four days, because if that’s true, then we have even more of a void of leadership in this city than I imagined. Brandi will be filing public disclosure requests for emails and phone records to piece things together.

“We want to again know that people are being honest with us in their answers,” says Brandi.

Taken from Wednesday’s edition of The Dori Monson Show.

Seattle mayor changes tune, says no raise for City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco
Dori Monson: Why do public officials think they can lie to us?
Seeking answers: Did Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco ever ask for a raise?
Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco responds to media storm


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