The Seattle City Council confirmed a new director of Seattle Public Utilities and is considering a change that would allow her to earn up to $334,000 per year.
The Seattle City Council confirmed Mayor Ed Murray’s nominee for director of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Monday and is considering a change to the pay range for the position that would allow the mayor to pay Mami Hara $334,000 per year.
The mayor nominated Hara in July, tapping her to replace SPU veteran Ray Hoffman, who had announced in June that he would be stepping down.
Hara is an expert in stormwater management who helped lead Philadelphia’s water utility for five years, serving as its deputy commissioner. She helped implement Green City, Clean Waters, a plan to reduce pollution through projects such as rain gardens.
In nominating Hara, Murray proposed that she earn $223,500 per year — the most allowed under Seattle’s existing pay range for the SPU director position, which is $135,400 to $233,550 per year. Hoffman earned about $200,000 last year.
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Then in August, Murray’s human-resources department sent legislation to the council that would change the position pay range to $209,231 to $334,769. The C is For Crank blog reported on a council committee’s approval of the legislation last week.
According to the human-resources department, the average salary for public-sector water-utility executives is about $272,000.
“Our analysis determined that the city’s current salary range is not competitive with the top executive positions at comparable public water-utility organizations,” a department memo says.
The council in March confirmed Murray nominee Larry Weis as the new general manager of Seattle City Light. The mayor gave Weis a salary of $340,000 per year.
His predecessor, Jorge Carrasco, earned about $245,000 per year. Carrasco was in line for a raise of nearly $120,000 in 2014 but missteps cost him the pay hike.