Jason Rantz: Criticism of conned Seattle City Light CEO not entirely fairJune 25, 2014 @ 11:10 am (Updated: 2:24 pm - 6/25/14 )
The Jason Rantz Show.
The CEO of Seattle City Light, Jorge Carrasco, has been at the center of the news the last couple weeks.
He was in the news because he was just given a significant pay raise from the Seattle City Council. Carrasco was already the highest paid city employee at nearly $245,000 a year, now he has a pay range up to $364,000 a year.
That's a big bump and a lot of folks were really upset. They claimed that Carrasco didn't deserve this raise. But the argument coming from Ed Murray, and some of the supporters, was to keep that talent that Carrasco brought to the table, we need to pay these folks a little bit more competitively, and the fact is $364,000 is about what people are getting paid across the country in similar positions.
However, the raise comes after a mistake:
"Last year, two men claiming to be members of the Cherokee Nation who had traveled from Oklahoma came to Seattle with a simple goal: score some scrap copper."
Dressed in beads and fringed suede, with one wearing a cap that said "Native," they headed to the offices of Seattle City Light, where they chanced upon its superintendent, Jorge Carrasco, in the lobby. They told him they ran a nonprofit that taught disabled children how to make jewelry and needed some copper wire."
That was very smart of them because when you're going after money, what do you tend to give money to? Kids and the disabled. Now you're putting both of them together. You've got a really compelling cause to donate money to.
According to The Seattle Times, minutes after meeting them, Carrasco gave them the OK to pick up some of the city's scrap copper. That sounds very benevolent of Carrasco. That sounds like he's doing a good deed, to help out this charity. He made that decision that I'm not going to go through all the bureaucracy. I'm not going to have to talk to millions of people in the city government, I'm just going to pull the trigger.
"I've been a pretty staunch watchdog of a lot of aspects of Seattle politics. I have never seen a clown show like we have right now running things in the city."
Read: Dori's take
But it turns out the two men were actually con men. They drove off with 20 tons of copper wire worth an astonishing $120,000. Coincidentally, that is the same amount Carrasco just received for his raise.
This story is not new. I heard Dori Monson report on it back in December. We have known about this for quite some time, but most earlier reports didn't highlight Carrasco's involvement. This is getting some new love and attention because of the controversy over the raise.
People are starting to mock Carrasco over this. They question whether or not we should have given him a raise of $120,000 if he's dumb enough to fall for this scam. Now here's the thing, I don't think all the criticism of Carrasco is fair and some of the ways he's being picked on seems mean spirited. This guy absolutely got conned, but let's not forget he thought that he was helping kids. Let's not forget the fact that he thought he was helping disabled kids. So his heart was in the right place.
At the end of the day, he tried to do something really good. Now, he failed at it. But part of me feels really bad for getting on his case. People fall into scams all the time. I almost fell for an eBay scam. I got an email saying 'your password has been disabled, click this link,' and I clicked it and I was about to hit enter, after telling them my old password. Then I was like, oh my God I almost just fell for that. People fall for these things all the time. It is not unfathomable, him falling for a con.
I think it's worth talking about it if this shows a lack of judgment on his part. I think it does show a lack of judgment, absolutely. But this is a screw up that I don't think disqualifies him from being the CEO, at least in my eyes. It was absolutely a bone-headed move. It is incredibly embarrassing, but certainly not disqualifying, because by all accounts, he's doing a good job as Seattle City Light CEO.
Taken from Tuesday's edition of The Jason Rantz Show.
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