President Trump Fires Tennessee Valley Authority Chair Over Hiring of Foreign Workers, Caps TVA CEO Pay at $500k

by Zeke Miller


WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump said Monday that he had fired the chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority, criticizing the federal-owned corporation for hiring foreign workers.

Trump told reporters at the White House that he was formally removing chair Skip Thompson and another member of the board, and he threatened to remove other board members if they continued to hire foreign labor. Thompson was appointed to the post by Trump.

The TVA is a federally owned corporation created in 1933 to provide flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing and economic development to the Tennessee Valley, a region that was hard hit by the Great Depression. The region covers most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky as well as small sections of Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Jeff Lyash

He also said the TVA board must immediately hire a new chief executive officer who “puts the interests of Americans first.” According to Trump, the CEO, Jeff Lyash, earns $8 million a year.

“The new CEO must be paid no more than $500,000 a year,” Trump said. “We want the TVA to take action on this immediately. … Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

Trump said the authority was replacing many of its in-house technology workers with contractors who rely heavily on foreign workers under the H1-B visa program for highly skilled workers.

“All TVA employees are U.S. based citizens,” said authority public information officer Jim Hopson. “All jobs related to TVA’s Information Technology department must be performed in the U.S. by individuals who may legally work in this country.”

“As a federal corporation, TVA’s Board members serve at the pleasure of the President,” Hopson added.

As Trump was meeting with workers who would shortly be laid off by the authority, Trump was passed a note from chief of staff Mark Meadows that said Lyash had called the White House and was promising to address the labor concerns.

Trump acknowledged that he was made aware of the issue after seeing a television ad produced by U.S. Tech Workers, a nonprofit that wants to limit visas given to foreign technology workers, that aired in primetime on Fox News.

The group, led by Kevin Lynn, criticized the TVA for furloughing its own workers and replacing them with contractors using foreign workers with H-1B visas. The ad, Lynn said, had an “audience of one,” aiming to persuade Trump to stop the TVA from outsourcing much of its information technology division.

Trump made the announcement as he signed an executive order to require all federal agencies to complete an internal audit to prove they are not replacing qualified American workers with people from other countries. The White House said the order will help prevent federal agencies from unfairly replacing American workers with lower cost foreign labor.

The order followed the TVA’s announcement that it would outsource 20% of its technology jobs to companies based in foreign countries. TVA’s action could cause more than 200 highly skilled American tech workers in Tennessee to lose their jobs to foreign workers hired on temporary work visas, according to the White House.

But Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said the TVA doesn’t get any taxpayer money. Commenting on the issue in April, Alexander said the White House was spreading misinformation. He said that TVA chief executive officers’ pay is lower than other large utilities and that TVA energy rates are among the lowest in the nation.

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Zeke Miller is a reporter with The Associated Press.





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6 Thoughts to “President Trump Fires Tennessee Valley Authority Chair Over Hiring of Foreign Workers, Caps TVA CEO Pay at $500k”

  1. […] I don’t know if you noticed this Clint but The Tennessee Star reported this front and […]

  2. John

    When Trump gets it right, he knocks it out of the park. Good job Mr President. This is why he will get my vote this coming November.

  3. CCW

    IIt is about time. The upper management of TVA has been and continued to be an embarrassment. Then came the Kingston Coal Ash Impoundment collapse and clean-up fiasco.

    Aug 03, 2020 · WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Monday that he had fired the chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority, criticizing the federally owned corporation for hiring foreign workers.
    [That is a nice way of saying, why were Iranians heading up the TVA Nuclear Programs.]

    Aug 04, 2020 · Trump said the position was overpaid, and the CEO should not make more than $500,000 annually. TVA’s latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed Lyash received a pro-rated base salary of $445,846 from April, when he was hired, through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, plus a signing bonus of $380,000, and non-equity incentive compensation of over $860,000.
    Trump ousts TVA board members over outsourcing jobs, targets. Political payoff jobs disappearing under Trump. No wonder the deep state and some RINOs hate him.

    What is needed now is another Marvin Runyon.

    Marvin T. Runyon became chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority in January 1988. He claimed to reduce management layers, cut overhead costs by more than 30%, and achieved cumulative savings and efficiency improvements of $1.8 billion.

  4. Alex Otto

    “If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

  5. Boyd

    Vote for Hagerty if you like Lamar Alexander, because he is Lamar`s clone.

  6. Karen Bracken

    So if TVA is not paid with tax payer money how do they get paid. Alexander makes no sense here. Do they grow money trees in the back.of the buildings. No matter how they are paid the money always involves money of tax oayers. Trump is totally correct with what he is doing.