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Austin Energy CEO tapped to lead Seattle utility

Austin Energy General Manager Larry Weis has been offered the top job at Seattle City Light, according to a press release posted by the Seattle mayor.

Pending the approval of the Seattle City Council, Weis would start his new job Feb. 1, and would earn a salary of $340,000. Weis is replacing Jim Baggs, an executive at Seattle City Light who served as interim general manager since last spring.

“Larry stood out among our many applicants from across the country,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in a written statement. “He is an accomplished and recognized leader in the nation’s utility industry. In Austin, he demonstrated strong financial management skills and deep concern for the welfare of his employees.”

In his own written statement, Weis says he was “attracted” to City Light’s record as a “national leader” in delivering affordable and reliable renewable energy. “City Light has a long heritage of developing and operating hydroelectric projects and a robust energy distribution system,” Weis said.

Weis was hired by Austin Energy in 2010 and is paid roughly $315,000 a year, making him the highest-paid city of Austin employee. It’s not a big surprise that he would want to return to Seattle, as he was raised in Central Washington.

Weis has overseen Austin Energy during a tumultuous time, helping to stabilize the utility’s finances, which included contentious rate increases in 2012, and a dramatic increase in the utility’s investments in wind and solar energy.

According to the statement from the Seattle mayor, a search committee representing energy experts, environmental organizations, nonprofits and labor unions helped pick Weis.

In related news, Higher oil supplies drive Ohio gas prices down.

This article was written by Lilly Rockwell from Austin American-Statesman and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.