Officials said the raises provide retention incentive and bring the general manager's pay range in line with a recent compensation survey by the American Public Power Assn.
"I am fully aware that there just couldn't be a worse time to do this. It's just horrid," Davis said Thursday. "These are good-paying jobs, and we should all be happy to have jobs. But if we cannot get people in these positions, and assemble the type of team I inherited, I am going to spend even more money and have your rates go even higher."
The proposal comes as public utilities across the country struggle to retain senior-level managers, who are either leaving for higher pay, more affordable areas or to retire.
Pasadena recently pushed through similar packages, and officials in Glendale are working on one of their own. In Burbank, executives recognized the trend nearly seven years ago and began recruiting. But those candidates are still five to 10 years away from upper-level management prospects, Davis said.
The salaries of other top managers are tied to Davis' salary and would be adjusted accordingly.
However, while the salary ranges are proposed to increase by 11%, incumbents can receive maximum annual increases of only 10%, according to current personnel policy. Davis said he would recommend across-the-board salary increases of 7.5% for incumbents as a way to further reduce the fiscal impact for 2010-11.
The proposal would provide raises of $19,647 for the vacant assistant general manager of power supply; $13,394 for two assistant general managers; $12,724 for the chief financial offer, $11,385 for the assistant general manager of customer service and marketing and $8,036 for the administrative officer.