On February 2, 2004, the City Council confirms Jorge Carrasco as the superintendent of Seattle City Light. The former city manager of Austin, Texas, has experience running drinking water utilities, but not as superintendent of an electrical utility. He will be paid $210,000 a year, making him the highest paid official in the City of Seattle.
Superintendent Gary Zarker stepped down in June 2003 after the City Council indicated that it would not reconfirm him as superintendent. The Council held Zarker responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of debt run up by City Light during the energy crisis of 2000-2001.
Mayor Greg Nickels (b. 1955) nominated Carrasco after a nationwide search for a candidate. The City Council raised the superintendent's salary to attract qualified applicants. Carrasco headed the East Bay Municipal Utilities District in Oakland, California, and American Water Services in New Jersey. In Austin, he served as head of administration for Austin Energy, the city-owned electrical utility there. He was named city manager of Austin in 1984.
Carrasco is the 15th superintendent to head City Light since Seattle voted to build its own lighting plant in 1902.