In spite of the economic downturn and possible public griping, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District's Board this week voted to give a 3 percent raise to the utility's general manager. The pay increase brings John DiStasio's total annual pay to about $360,355. "Every time there's a discussion regarding general manager compensation it is a difficult conversation," board member Bill Slaton said during the discussion on the matter at the Feb. 17 meeting. "I think the organization is performing exceptionally well," board president Renee Nunes-Taylor said. "We continue to maintain our low rates, we ended up this year with a surplus, we are not projecting rate increases for this coming year." The approval vote was not unanimous. Genevieve Shiroma said that issuing a raise while some ratepayers are suffering under the current economic climate sends the wrong message. "We have double-digit unemployment right now," she said. &quot;I think we need to wait until there are better economic indicators experienced by our customer owners before we entertain an increase." The final vote was 6-1, with Shiroma voting against the raise. DiStasio, hired in June 2008, was making $349,860 before the raise. His new pay rate became effective immediately.