President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Jeffrey Lyash receives “ridiculous” compensation.
This, according to KnoxNews.com, which reported that a New York Post reporter asked Trump about Lyash’s compensation as the head of a quasi-public federal agency at Wednesday’s media briefing.
“Members of your administration have pointed out that the top-paid federal employee, it’s not the president … it’s the head of the Tennessee Valley Authority and he made $8 million last year,” New York Post reporter Steve Nelson asked Trump.
Trump responded with this:
“You said Tennessee Valley Authority, right? Has to be the highest-paid man in any government (position),” Trump said.
“Makes approximately $8 million or $9 million. I don’t know the gentleman, but he’s got a heck of a job. He gets paid a lot of money.”
Trump then said he would want to reduce Lyash’ salary “by a lot.”
KnoxNews.com then quoted TVA spokesman Jim Hopson, who said Lyash gets his salary from electricity sales revenue — not taxpayer money and Lyash’s pay is lower than that of his industry peers.
“TVA’s mission of service requires that we attract and retain highly skilled individuals in a specialized industry,” Hopson reportedly said.
“Although a federal corporation, TVA receives no federal funding for its operations.”
U.S. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee addressed the matter in an emailed press release late Wednesday night.
“Attacking TVA doesn’t do one thing to solve the pandemic and has no place in federal COVID-19 response legislation. TVA does not receive one dollar in federal taxpayer subsidies or federal appropriations. To help families pay their electric bills and keep their power on during this crisis, TVA has made $1 billion in credit available to help 154 local electric utilities in seven states,” Alexander said.
“White House staff is unfortunately spreading inaccurate information. When this crisis is over, I’ll be glad to explain to them the facts about the TVA CEO’s pay, which is lower than other big utilities, and TVA’s rates, which are among the lowest in the country, and the number of federal taxpayer dollars going to TVA , which is zero.”
As reported last year, Tennessee Valley Authority executives indulged in an excessive amount of spending on luxuries for themselves, according to an audit. These activities included executives having expensive steak dinners and using chauffeurs instead of cabs, among other things.
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