Utility to pay top 5 officials 3% more: 3 newly promoted executives' pay to be raised by up to $27,000 a year

Lonnie Carter

LEIGH WEBBER PHOTOGRAPHY

Santee Cooper's top five officials scored 3 percent pay hikes while three newly promoted executive officers will earn up to $27,000 more each year, a utility spokeswoman said Monday.

The state-owned electric and water utility's board of directors signed off on the raises for the top five executives at a meeting Friday in Myrtle Beach.

The increases took effect immediately, spokeswoman Laura Varn said.

The 3 percent raises awarded to the top executives "fall in line with the range" for other employees at the utility, she added.

The higher salaries of three executives who were promoted in March reflect an increase from the midpoint of the pay range for those jobs, she said.

Santee Cooper's board typically takes up the issue of pay increases in April.

Top five

--Lonnie Carter, president and chief executive officer, now earns $429,406 a year, an increase of $12,507.

He joined the Moncks Corner-based utility as an entry-level engineer in 1982 and became president in 2004.

--Bill McCall, executive vice president and chief operating officer, will earn $11,315 more per year. His new salary is $388,466.

McCall started working for Santee Cooper in 1971, but he announced earlier this year that he plans to retire. His departure date is open-ended because of his critical role in trying to sell part of the utility's stake in a new nuclear plant it is building north of Columbia with South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.

--Elaine Peterson, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will earn $9,110 more. Her new salary is $312,777. Last year, she received a 13 percent pay raise. Peterson joined Santee Cooper in 1977.

--Jim Brogdon, executive vice president and general counsel, will earn $7,486 more each year. His new salary is $257,020. Brogdon is a former circuit court judge who was promoted a year ago to senior vice president. He joined the utility in 2005 after leaving the bench.

--R.M. Singletary, executive vice president of corporate services, will earn $268,997 each year, an increase of $7,835.

He has been with Santee Cooper for 34 years and was promoted in April 2010 from senior vice president of corporate services. He received a 9 percent raise last year.

Three new executives

The three new members of the executive team will receive much higher percentage increases in their salaries.

--Marc Tye, senior vice president of customer service, will earn $192,226, an increase of $27,600 a year. That's a 12 percent rise from the midpoint of the pay range, Varn said, but it's a 16.8 percent increase above the $164,626 he was earning.

Tye joined Santee Cooper 27 years ago.

--The salary for Phil Pierce, senior vice president of generation, will rise $24,000 to $215,540. It's a 10 percent increase from the midpoint of the pay grade, according to Varn, but it's a 12.5 percent hike above the $191,540 he was earning. Pierce has been employed with Santee Cooper for 30 years.

--Terry Blackwell, senior vice president of power delivery, will now earn $212,806, or $11,250 more than he was making. The raise represents a 5 percent jump above the midpoint of his pay range, Varn said, but's it's 5.6 percent above the $201,556 he was earning.