Seattle City Light CEO pay is not out of the ordinary

Dec 11, 2017, 5:49 AM

It is often pointed out that Seattle City Light’s CEO is the highest paid employee in the city, far more than even the mayor.

Actually, according to The News Tribune, with a $322,503 annual salary in 2016 ($340,000 reported elsewhere), Seattle City Light CEO Larry Weis was the second-highest paid employee at the city. Fire Battalion Chief Richard Schultz pulled in $360,303.

Pay is a consideration as Mayor Jenny Durkan replaces the utility’s top executive. While a $340,000 annual salary, with an 8 percent bonus, may seem high to many, the price tag for the soon-to-exit CEO is on par with his public utility colleagues. And it’s far below his counterparts in the private sector.

RELATED: Durkan will replace Seattle’s highest-paid employee

For example, here are a few public utilities:

If you’re in the market for a utility CEO job, however, private companies are the way to go. The jobs may pay around the same six-figure salary as a public utility, but private CEOs also earn considerable bonuses and other equity to push their pay into the millions.

Private energy companies:

Seattle city employee pay

Putting the mayor of Seattle aside — with their $175,000 annual salary — Seattle City Light employees accounted for six of the top 10 most highly paid employees at the city in 2016, according to The News Tribune.

  • Richard Schultz, Fire Battalion Chief: $360,303
  • Larry Weis, Seattle City Light: $322,503
  • Ricardo Castro, Fire Captain: $299,019 (base pay is $291,962)
  • Michael Yi, City Light: $289,370 (base pay is $113,814)
  • Cao Pham, City Light: $279,021 (base pay is $107,522)
  • Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle Police Chief (resigning at the end of the year): $273,275
  • James Hannigan, City Light: $266,353 (base pay is $129,006)
  • James Baggs, City Light: $264,586
  • Earl Boyd, City Light: $258,174 (base pay is $103,863)
  • James Woodbury, Fire Chief: $254,605 (base pay is $165,908)

Overtime pay is a considerable portion of city employees’ salaries, which is why many of the highest paid Seattle workers took home far beyond their base pay in 2016.

A recent analysis by the Puget Sound Business Journal found that 634 city employees earn more than one-third of their paychecks from overtime. There are 10 workers who get more than half of their pay in overtime, too. Of the 22 city employees who earn more than $100,000 in overtime, 14 work at City Light.

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Seattle City Light CEO pay is not out of the ordinary