Jorge Carrasco, the second highest-paid public employee in Seattle, will have to get by on $245,000 for the indefinite future. Of course, one might say he’s lucky to even have the City Light CEO job at all in light of the humiliation he’s endured in recent weeks, not to mention the well-publicized lie he committed during a KIRO radio interview last week, telling Jason Rantz that he never asked for a raise.
Fact is, he did – and now he’s not getting it.
Mayor Ed Murray, no doubt surrendering to an avalanche of negative publicity, said today at a City Hall news conference that he will not give Jorge Carrasco a raise. This comes after his office had said in mid-June that the mayor was considering hiking Carrasco’s already hefty paycheck by $60,000.
Murray cited “judgment and trust” issues, all which came to the forefront following a story in The Seattle Times on June 23 that he was conned by a couple of fake Indians into turning over to their bogus charity some 20 tons of city-owned copper and scrap metal, valued at $120,000.
The Seattle City Council voted 6-2 (council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata voted no) to grant an increase of up to $119,000 for Carrasco.
Murray was also unhappy to hear of City Light’s $17,500 deal with Brand.com, all of it public money and being used to polish Carrasco’s image and alter Google search results to remove critical stories about him. One of those article was a 2008 cover story in Seattle Weekly, which continues to really, really, irritate City Light’s chief honcho. Click here to read it -- “Short Fuse: Jorge Carrasco’s Polarizing Tenure at the Top of City Light.”
“At this time I am not willing to give the superintendent a raise,” Murray said.
The “final straw,” as The Times reports today, was Carrasco’s big fib in the KIRO radio interview last week. When the media pressed the mayor’s office about it, City Light’s press office finally admitted that Carrasco had pursued the salary increase.
Murray called Carrasco’s radio comments “a misrepresentation” of his conversations with Carrasco. Murray said Carrasco had brought up the pay issue and had indicated he was looking at “other job options,” according to The Times’ interview with Murray. The mayor said he was not looking to replace Carrasco, but said during his news conference the City Light chief “may choose to stay or leave.”
Said Councilwoman Sawant in a statement: “This striking reversal [by the mayor] is the outcome of strong public pressure on the City’s political establishment and a sign of the disgust working people feel about executive excess. The lowest paid workers in Seattle must wait years to achieve even a basic living wage, while a massive raise of up to $120,000 a year was being considered for the highest-paid city employee.
“This reversal is also a direct result of having a socialist elected representative, without which this issue would have been business-as-usual in City Hall. I first brought this issue to attention in committee, and I thank Councilmember Nick Licata for joining me to vote No in Full Council.