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President Donald Trump wants to cut the salary of the president of the Tennessee Valley Authority—currently at $6 million—and will support such a cut as part of a huge infrastructure investment package, Fox News reports.
"I've been waiting for somebody to ask me about that," Trump said, adding "It's been bothering me for a long time, too."
TVA is a federal power utility that has operations across seven states. The base salary of its president, Jeff Lyash, was last year $920,000, which compares with $400,000 for Trump himself. Yet Lyash received a total of $8.16 million, most of it coming from performance-based bonuses and a $1.8-million one-time payment for Lyash's agreement to relocate from Canada to the U.S.
"I don't know the gentleman, but he's got a heck of a job," Trump said, as quoted by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "He gets paid a lot of money, which is an amazing thing."
A spokesman for Tennessee Valley Authority countered with the argument that unlike other federal companies, TVA does not receive taxpayer funds.
"TVA has not received taxpayer funding in more than 20 years," Kim Hopson said. "We are entirely self-financed by power revenues from our customers. Because of the importance of our mission, we must have a competitive compensation package to attract and retain the highly skilled talent needed to serve those who count on us."
Trump seems to be at odds with the company because of coal. Last year, the President asked the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep a coal-fired power plant in Kentucky running, but the utility refused to do so and shut down its last unit earlier this year, as it was cheaper than keeping it running.
"When we want them to do something for us, they are not there for us, and that's not good," Trump said.
The U.S. president floated the idea of an infrastructure aid package worth some $2 trillion at the end of last month.
"It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4," Trump said in a tweet.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.