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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Weis Seattle Light nomination moves forward
Thursday, March 10, 2016 by Jo Clifton
The nomination of Austin Energy’s former general manager, Larry Weis, to lead Seattle City Light, that city’s utility, cleared an important hurdle this week. According to news outlets in Seattle, a City Council committee voted 3-2 to recommend that the full Council approve Weis’ appointment as CEO. A number of environmental groups, including the Seattle chapter of the Sierra Club, have opposed Weis because of his support in Austin for construction of a new natural gas plant to replace Austin Energy’s old, less efficient plant at Decker. Some Seattle Council members were also upset about an exit interview that Weis gave to the Austin American-Statesman, in which he criticized the Austin City Council’s governance of Austin Energy. According to Seattle City Council Insight, the full City Council is likely to consider Weis’ nomination on March 21. Weis, who is interim CEO of the Seattle utility, is expected to receive a salary of $340,000 per year if confirmed. His salary at Austin Energy was $315,000 per year. Both figures are lower than the average salary for CEOs of public power utilities with more than 100,000 customers. According to a survey by the American Public Power Association in 2014, the average salary for general managers of such utilities is $403,262. Weis was born and grew up in Seattle. When he left Austin last November, he said he wanted to return to his hometown. Austin Energy is operating under an interim general manager, and it is not clear how long it will be before a new permanent manager is hired.
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