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Seeking answers: Did Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco ever ask for a raise?

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KIRO Radio's Dori Monson wants to know if Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco asked for a raise. (Seattle City Light image) | Zoom
Taken from The Dori Monson Show.

We are trying to get some answers regarding a question that was asked and answered in an exclusive interview Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco gave to KIRO Radio colleague Jason Rantz.

Jason asked: Did you ask for a raise?

Jorge Carrasco answered: No. I think the, theóno I didn't. I did not ask for a raise.

You know the story by now. Jorge Carrasco, already the City of Seattle's highest paid employee at $245,000, was granted an increase in his pay range with room for a potential salary now up to $364,000.

So we were wondering, if he didn't ask for a raise, why was the City of Seattle just handing out $120,000?

I think in the City of Seattle, we have a bunch of politicians who are riling up their base by talking about income inequality, but they are doing more to exacerbate income inequality than any local governmental entity that I've ever seen.

Ed Murray gives a $95,000 no-bid contract to Peter Steinbrueck because Steinbrueck endorsed him. Ed Murray gives a six-figure job to Christine Gregoire's son-in-law because he is Christine Gregoire's son-in-law. Then he gives a $120,000 raise to Jorge Carrasco without Carrasco asking for it.

Why is the City of Seattle just giving out six figures to all of their buddies? We wanted to simply find out is that true what Jorge Carrasco said. We wanted to know. Did he ask for a raise?

KIRO Radio Reporter Brandi Kruse contacted the City Council and the Mayor's Office. I have the email thread between them.

She wrote:

Good afternoon,

Jorge Carrasco told one of our hosts in a prerecorded interview today that he did not ask for a raise from the city.

Could your respective offices confirm that this is true?

Councilmember Kshama Sawant's Office told her the legislation came from the mayor's office. So Brandi waited to hear from the mayor's office. Here's what the mayor's office responded:

Apologies for the delay...

The issue isn't whether Jorge asked for a pay raise or didn't ask for a pay raise.

The issue is whether he is being paid fairly according to the market, and consistent with his performance and the results being achieved at utility [a summary of which can be found in the attachment, which you likely already have].

Jorge's pay-band had been adjusted little if at all during his decade-plus at City Light while achieving very strong results on behalf of ratepayers - so the Mayor asked Council for the adjustment to bring his salary closer to his peers at other publicly-owned utilities in the region.

Again, that wasn't the question. The question was did he ask for a raise. So Brandi followed up:

Thank you, Jeff. But did Jorge Carrasco ask the mayor, or anyone else with the city, for a raise?

No response. So Brandi sent another email Saturday morning.

Good morning,

I hate to be a bother, but would still like to get a yes or no answer to this question:

Did Jorge Carrasco ask the the city for raise?

Thank you, hope you're enjoying your weekends.

Then she got a response Saturday from the mayor's office:

Equally not wanting to be difficult, I don't really have anything to add other than what I've said below. If you need a quote, you can go with the following:

"The Mayor believes a salary adjustment for Jorge is justified based on his performance, the strong results achieved by the utility on behalf of ratepayers and comparisons to the salaries of his peers at other publicly-owned utilities.

"For these reasons, the Mayor asked Council for an adjustment to Jorge's pay-band and he appreciates Council's support of his request."

You have a good weekend, too!

Jeff

I think the mayor's office is out of control right now in the money they're spending, in the salaries they're handing out, the no-bid contracts they're handing out. I've never seen anything like this and I've been following politics for a couple of decades now as a host.

We asked a very simple yes or no question: Did Jorge Carrasco ask for the raise? The fact that they won't answer that question leaves only one of two possibilities. One: Jorge Carrasco lied to Jason, our host, on Friday when he said, no he did not ask for a raise. And I'm not accusing him of this, I'm just saying it's one of the possibilities.

The other one is that Carrasco was telling the truth and Ed Murray just hands out a $120,000 pay raise to the city's highest paid employee with no reason to do so.

If Carrasco did not ask for a raise, then why, in a time when they are making income inequality a centerpiece of their policies in this city, why do they hand out a $120,000 raise that somebody never asked for? Have you ever gotten a raise without asking for it? It just doesn't happen.

There's another important issue at play here. Why won't the communications people for Ed Murray answer this question? It's their job to be the proxy for their guy, to be a conduit between them and the media, and it's our job as the media to be the conduit between you and them. When we ask a reasonable, legitimate yes-or-no question and they refuse to answer that question, something stinks about that. So we're going to continue to try to get answers.

All we are asking is: Was Jorge Carrasco telling the truth when he said he didn't' ask for a raise? And if so, why would Ed Murray just hand out $120,000 taxpayer dollars to somebody who wasn't asking for it? That's a fair question.

Taken from Monday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.

Related:
Seattle City Light CEO Jorge Carrasco responds to media storm
Jason Rantz: Criticism of conned Seattle City Light CEO not entirely fair
Dori Monson: I have never seen a bigger clown show in Seattle politics

JS

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