Trump Pressure Leads Tennessee Valley Authority Officials to Review CEO’s $8M Salary

Protesters near the Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga, Tenn., in June, a few months after the corporation announced layoffs.Credit...C.B. Schmelter/Chattanooga Times Free Press, via Associated Press
C.B. Schmelter/Chattanooga Times Free Press, via Associated Press

Officials with the federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) say they are reviewing CEO Jeff Lyash’s $8 million salary following scrutiny from President Trump.

This month, Trump came down hard on TVA executives for their plan to outsource American workers’ jobs to imported H-1B foreign workers by contracting with outsourcing firms such as Capgemini, CGI, and Accenture.

In an executive order, Trump demanded that TVA and all other federal agencies review their job and hiring practices to ensure that they are not displacing American workers in any way. As part of that order, Trump said he wants Lyash’s huge salary lowered immensely to no more than $500,000 a year.

“But the new CEO must be paid no more than $500,000 a year, which is still a significant amount more than the President of the United States makes,” Trump said in a meeting with American TVA workers on August 3. Trump added:

So let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board. If you betray American workers, then you will hear two simple words: ‘You’re fired. You’re fired.’ It’s ridiculous. The man is getting $8 million. It’d be interesting to see how much money he made before this.

The salary makes Lyash the highest-paid federal employee in the nation.

Now, the pressure from Trump has warranted a review of Lyash’s salary, according to newly-appointed TVA Chair John Ryder. The former chair, Skip Thompson, was fired by Trump because of the plans to outsource U.S. jobs.

“It’s a lot of money,” Ryder told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “And we’re going to be looking at that and looking at … what is the best way to do this? To handle the compensation and to structure the compensation so that we can resolve some of these tensions.”

Already, Trump’s intervention in TVA’s plan to outsource U.S. jobs has resulted in the agency vowing to stop the plan in its tracks and rehire the roughly 200 American workers who were in the process of training their foreign H-1B visa worker replacements.

The TVA board controls the salary and hiring of its CEO. Former TVA CEO Bill Johnson earned a similar salary of more than $8 million a year before he retired.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

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