Santee Cooper executives will not get a pay increase this year
Santee Cooper’s top executives will not receive pay hikes this year as they have in the past.
The state-owned utility’s board of directors Friday did not consider raises this year, as it usually does each April, for CEO Lonnie Carter and four other top officials.
“The management did not recommend it,” Chairman O.L. Thompson said by phone after a board meeting in Myrtle Beach.
Carter, who also is president of Santee Cooper, said Friday the time “is just not right.”
“We have a lot going on, and we don’t have to do it now,” he said, referring in part to two new nuclear reactors the utility is building in the Midlands with South Carolina Electric & Gas.
Carter did not rule out recommending raises in the future.
“We can do it anytime,” he said.
Carter added that the board’s pay hike decision had nothing to do with individual job performances.
“There are a lot of people who haven’t gotten increases,” he said. “It’s just a sign of the times.”
Last year, Santee Cooper came under fire from some state lawmakers after the board approved 3 percent pay bumps for Carter and four other top executives. The increases amounted to a $12,507 increase in salary for Carter and between $7,800 and $11,400 for the other managers.
Thompson said he was contacted by Gov. Nikki Haley’s office after the 2011 raises were approved and was asked to reconsider.
The pay hikes were rescinded, he said. That move had not been disclosed publicly until Friday.
This year, there was no pressure from state government about raises, Thompson said.
Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey had this to say about Friday’s decision:
“We are in constant contact with Santee Cooper’s board about how to bring jobs to our state and how to keep costs low and have encouraged them to use discretion in their decisions. We appreciate their willingness to do so.”
The absence of a pay increase this year means the top five executive staff members have not had a raise in two years, Santee Cooper spokeswoman Laura Varn said.
Carter’s salary remains at $416,899. He joined the Moncks Corner-based water and power utility as an entry-level engineer in 1982 and became president in 2004.
The other four executives are:
Bill McCall, executive vice president and chief operating officer. His salary is $377,151 a year. He plans to retire June 30 after 41 years. No replacement has been named, and his position might not be filled, Varn said.
Elaine Peterson, executive vice president and chief financial officer. She earns $303,667 a year.
Jim Brogdon, executive vice president and general counsel. His salary is $249,534 a year.
R.M. Singletary, executive vice president of corporate services. He earns $261,162 a year.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.