Monday morning's press conference at city hall began with what reporters had been anticipating: The Seattle police chief was stepping down, the deputy police chief was taking over temporarily, and the city would begin its search for a new head of the state's largest police agency.
But among the announcements Mayor Jenny Durkan dropped a news bombshell, that Larry Weis—CEO and general manager of Seattle City Light and the highest paid city employee—has resigned.
His leave follows several controversies in the department reported by Crosscut and The Stranger, like sexual harassment and sexism allegedly running rampant in the department and lagging on thousands of customer records to, say, close out their bills. He also asked for a raise, which the city council struck down, from his $340,000 annual salary. Durkan said she accepted his resignation as of this morning.
"Running for office and looking at what changes need to be made in the city and looking at things, it was clear to me that City Light, one of the most important, was somewhere we needed to make a change," Durkan said. "I talked to the director in terms of what my expectations were. We had a mutual decision that he would resign."
Durkan went on to say that the city will be looking to overcome challenges at City Light, "from billing to the workplace environment," and declined to comment on more specifics behind his resignation.
Jim Baggs—who was City Light's chief compliance officer—will be taking over as the interim head and has been working at the department since 2012. Baggs has been the interim CEO before for 10 months, before Weis took over the open position in February 2016.
Durkan said the city will conduct a nationwide search to find Weis's permanent replacement, and she didn't say whether the new head would continue to have the same salary.
"I'm not going to comment on what the range of the compensation is, but I can tell you that if we pay in a certain range, we expect certain performance," Durkan said.
Her announcement about Weis's departure accompanied other news about department heads who will be staying: Emergency Management director Barb Graff, Seattle Public Utilities director Mami Hara, and Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins.