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Seattle City Light CEO pay is not out of the ordinary

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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