TORONTO — Progressive Conservatives took their protest of Hydro One’s $6-million CEO and its board members pay increase to the utility’s front door on Tuesday morning.
“They have the nerve to increase their compensation,” PC Leader Doug Ford said. “A part-time job — they were making $160,000 – they gave themselves a pay increase up to $185,000. Who does that?”
Calling it a waste of taxpayers money, Ford vowed he would fire the entire Hydro One board and CEO Mayo Schmidt if the PCs form government.
He said such a move would not create havoc at Hydro One because there are plenty of people to do their jobs.
The CEO’s salary has exploded and now the board members have received $14 million in “bonuses,” while the stock has dropped 14%, he said.
“A part-time job making $185,000 to show up at what, six meetings?” Ford said.
The board chair received a $70,000 increase, bringing his salary to $330,000, and regular board members saw $25,000 hikes to $185,000.
The brass at Hydro One has received significant pay increases since the Kathleen Wynne government’s sell-off of a majority stake, and since purchasing an American utility.
However, the government remains the single largest shareholder.
A statement from Hydro One’s directors says their compensation had been far below that of peers.
“The changes were intended to bring director compensation ‘halfway to median,’” the statement said. “Customers pay for board of director compensation at the same level as before privatization. Our review of executive compensation will also look at director compensation.”
The neverending political windstorm around Hydro One – Ford wants to can the top tier, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath promises to buy it back, and Wynne is demanding a compensation review – appears to be having a negative impact on the share value.
NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said the PC rally was just for show because Ford isn’t willing, as the NDP is, to buy back Hydro One.
The NDP believe they can purchase it in four to eight years using Hydro One dividends paid to the government as a shareholder.
“Doug Ford is a hypocrite on these issues,” Tabuns said. “He was senior person at Build Toronto when they dramatically increased the pay for executives and gave layoff slips to the frontline staff. He didn’t raise a peep when Toronto Hydro’s CEO got a big increase in his salary during the (Rob) Ford administration.”
Ford said it’s too premature to commit to buying back Hydro One because he hasn’t had a good look at the government’s books.
“(The NDP) plan is to continue spending money, taxing people. I’m there to save the taxpayers money, lower the hydro rates, lower taxes on people, putting money back into people’s pocket instead of the government’s pocket,” Ford said.
Ford said he would not have done what Wynne did and sell Hydro One — “our best asset,” something she did without even mentioning it in the election.
In a statement, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said the PC leader is hurting the value of Hydro One with his “careless, confrontational” statements.
“As the largest single shareholder in Hydro One, the government of Ontario was dissatisfied with the specific proposals for executive compensation when they were brought forward by the board,” Thibeault said. “We expressed our dissatisfaction clearly and succeeded in securing from the board a commitment that a review of the compensation model would be conducted relying on additional third-party experts.”
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies