Council members back keeping City Light chief
Jorge Carrasco will likely be reconfirmed as superintendent of the city's publicly owned utility, Seattle City Light. The City Council's energy...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Jorge Carrasco will likely be reconfirmed as superintendent of the city's publicly owned utility, Seattle City Light.
The City Council's energy committee on Wednesday recommended keeping Carrasco for another four-year term. The full council will vote Monday.
While committee Chair Bruce Harrell praised Carrasco for "outstanding leadership" in managing debt, encouraging conservation and lowering rates, Harrell emphasized he wanted the superintendent to improve employee morale and communication between upper management and the rank and file.
"A common theme with employees is the lack of internal communications, the lack of appreciation, perhaps what could be referred to as a bullying atmosphere," Harrell said at the committee meeting.
Carrasco acknowledged the problem.
"If people perceive that the communication that they're getting is not consistent with what we put a premium on — which is open, transparent, constructive communication — then clearly we have more work to do," he said.
The City Council hired Carrasco as a change agent in 2004. Previous Superintendent Gary Zarker left during bitter reconfirmation hearings after the 2000-01 energy crisis, when rates increased 60 percent.
Councilmember Jan Drago also supported Carrasco's reconfirmation in Wednesday's 2-0 committee vote.
"Change at the top is hard," she said. "I'm not interested in going through that again, frankly. I would rather support you and support the work you're doing and get the plan going and move on."
Carrasco says he plans to spend his next four years developing more renewable-energy sources, promoting conservation, replacing aging infrastructure and managing the aging work force. Half of City Light's workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next five years, he said.
"To attract and retain people, we need to have the right work environment," he said. "I intend to improve morale and communications."
Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or email@example.com
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