TVA Officials Take in Millions in Salaries


Tennessee Valley Authority officials reportedly make generous sums of money.

This, according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press, which cited the TVA’s annual report.

The website said new CEO Jeff Lyash received a recruitment and relocation incentive of nearly $1.8 million, on top of other performance pay, incentives and pension benefits.

“Those benefits increased Lyash’s total compensation to a record $8.12 million in his first six months on the job, provided he stays for at least the next five years, according to regulatory filings released Friday by TVA. Lyash, a 57-year-old engineer who previously was Ontario’s highest-paid government employee as head of Ontario Power Generation, became America’s highest-paid federal employee in April when he was hired as TVA’s new CEO,” according to The Times Free Press.

“Lyash was paid a base annual salary of $920,000 when he joined TVA, which is more than twice the $400,000-a-year salary of the president of the United States, and he is eligible for millions of dollars more in performance pay if TVA meets or exceeds its financial, safety, economic development and reliability targets. As a former federal employee at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Lyash also gets more in pension benefits, which accounted for most of his total compensation package in his first year at TVA.”

Meanwhile, The Times Free Press reported that former TVA president and CEO Bill Johnson received total compensation of $6.9 million, while Chief Financial Officer John Thomas received $3.6 million.

Executive Vice President Mike Skaggs received $4.4 million.

As reported in September, Tennessee Valley Authority executives reportedly indulged in an excessive amount of spending on luxuries for themselves, according to a new audit.

The audit, as reported, included executives having expensive steak dinners and using chauffeurs instead of cabs, among other things.

“The nation’s largest public utility spent nearly $1.8 million on travel costs for its 67 executives from October 2016 to July 2018, according to a report released Wednesday by TVA’s Office of the Inspector General. The audit found executives repeatedly violated both federal travel regulations and TVA’s own policies. Violations included excessive meal costs, the use of car services instead of cheaper alternatives, foreign travel expenses and lodging. Some travel costs, the report states, were not reported to the TVA Board of Directors,” according to

“The audit found TVA executives spent $253,018 on dining costs during those months. For about half of the meals at business events, the average cost per person exceeded the allowable per diem, or daily meal allowance. For 41 percent of events, executives did not reduce their per diem when meals were provided — a violation of policy.”

The TVA’s full annual report here.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Jeff Lyash” by TVA.






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2 Thoughts to “TVA Officials Take in Millions in Salaries”

  1. Paul L Newsom

    Outstanding. He deserves it. TVA is the historic gem of the south with a long history of improving and maintaining the quality of life for deep south citizens.

  2. Wolf Woman

    TVA provides energy for the “public” but is not accountable to the “public.” It was set up as a government/corporate entity by Franklin Roosevelt and is beholden to whom? TVA – only one of Roosevelt’s big mistakes.