In the middle of Mayor Durkan’s press conference announcing the resignation of SPd Chief Kathleen O’Toole, she dropped a bombshell: she has also accepted the resignation of Larry Weis as CEO of Seattle City Light.
Weis has had a short and rocky tenure since his confirmation in March of 2016; he inherited several problems, including the massive late and over budget NCIS billing system, unsustainable rate charges, and some sea changes in the energy market. But as the highest-paid executive on the city payroll, he drew high expectations and never lived up to them. Weis’s compensation package also called for a “performance pay” bonus if he met his goals; while he never received such a bonus, he did draw criticism earlier this year for giving himself the highest marks on his annual performance self-evaluation. The City Council recently prohibited performance pay in executive compensation.
Durkan noted this morning that Seattle City Light was one of the places where she saw the need for a change, so she sat down with Weis and he agreed to resign.
Council member Sawant has consistently argued that no city employee should be paid the $340,000 annual salary that Weis had negotiated. When Durkan was asked this morning whether she would try to adjust that salary for Weis’ successor, she refused comment on that specifically but did note that SCL is one of the largest public utilities in the country and that “a certain level of compensation requires a certain level of performance.”
Long-time SCL employee Jim Baggs will be interim CEO until a new CEO is hired. Baggs served as interim CEO while Weis was being recruited.