Early this morning, we learned that Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole will be stepping down at the end of the year. Hours later, news broke of another big departure.
Mayor Durkan on Monday announced that she has accepted the resignation of City Light CEO Larry Weis, Seattle's highest-paid public employee.
"I talked to the director in terms of what my expectations were and we made a mutual decision that he would resign,” Durkan said during a press conference intended to address the city’s search for a new police chief.
The mayor said the city will undergo a nationwide search to find a new CEO.
Weis, who previously worked in Austin, started his job leading the city’s public utility in March 2016. He made $360,000 annually, more than any other City of Seattle employee.
City Light Customer Care, Communications and Regulatory Affairs Officer Jim Baggs will take over Weis’ job in the interim.
Weis' short tenure has been marred by questions over his leadership.
In August of last year, the Seattle Times revealed that city officials charged with vetting candidates for the City Light CEO position did not review that Weis was subjected to an internal workplace conditions investigation when he worked in Austin, which included claims that he presided over a culture of harassment against women. The probe exonerated Weis.
The Stranger last month published a report on sexual harassment and sexism allegations at Seattle City Light. In the story, Sydney Brownstone reported that Weis read a petition in February signed by 42 City Light employees demanding the department do more to prevent harassment and sexism, but some of the employees who signed said they don’t feel their concerns were taken seriously.
Weis gave himself perfect marks on a self-evaluation that would help determine whether he should get a $30,000 raise, Crosscut reported in June. And just last week, the same site reported that the department has a backlog of 12,000 households seeking to transfer billing information and open new accounts.
Durkan alluded to some of these questions during her press conference.
"We've had challenges at City Light, but we will be looking to overcome some of those, everything from billing to the workplace environment,” she said.
Weis did not immediately respond to request for comment.