Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

Something Still Stinks – Part Deux…

July 6, 2012

In this post I espoused at some length on the wrongs of the (now ex) CEO of Progress Energy receiving over ten million dollars when he resigned  after only one day as the head of the newly combined Duke and Progress Energy company. However this story in the local paper indicates that he was ‘pushed’ out and that his ‘resignation’ was just a nice way firing him. While it lets him off the hook to some small extent, I still disagree with the whole concept of someone getting this much money after only one day in the job, a job he wold not have had anyway had he not been the potential new CEO of the combined company. It’s not like he left one high paying job to come to this one. One CEO’s job was going away anyway!

What it really does though is expose some highly suspicious activities by the Duke Energy board since it is not clear that the merger would have happened, had Johnson not been positioned to be the new CEO.

What’s even more laughable is that the N.C. Utilities Commission which approved the whole deal is now looking for options regarding any actions they can take. What’s the betting they turn out to be to be another toothless wonder. The state legislature has also been extremely quiet on this so far. I guess once the politicians see which side is winning they’ll pick sides (IE, the winning one) and speak up. That would be about par for most politicians.

But wait,there’s more, it get’s better!

According to this story, our mate Bill Johnson could receive as much as $44 MILLION (actually 44.7 million but what’s point seven when you are talking stupid money like this) as a result of his departure. If that is true, it not only stinks but it is  obscene, especially since it is MY monthly electricity bill that is helping to pay for that. The next thing you know, the newly combined power company will be pleading increased costs (yeah, I can point out at least one to you, no problem) and trying to raise the cost of electricity.

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Something still stinks…

July 5, 2012

Some little while ago there was a big hoo ha about how the execs at some companies were, well basically, reaping it in while the employees were out on a limb, or worse, out of a job. And all this while these same companies were sinking faster than the Titanic.

Well, it would seem that little has changed (why am I not surprised).

Around here (North Carolina), two of the biggest power utilities, Duke and Progress Energy have merged (to become one humungous one, but that’s another issue). The CEO of Progress Energy, one Bill Johnson was to take over the combined company but he resigned on day one!

So OK, you decide the job’s not for you after all. Hey, I get it, we all make mistakes like that. You take a job then realize it’s not quite what you expected or wanted and so rather than flogging a dead or dying horse, you get out quickly and go find something else.

But you know, every time I have ever left a job, I have never received anything more than basically any holiday pay that was due to me and my salary up until my departure date. That’s been it. It always seemed fair to me, after all, why would they pay me NOT to be there.

Bu it seems that, as described in this story, When your name is Bill Johnson, and when you are the (now ex) CEO of a large utility company and you decide to resign, even on day one, you get one HELL of big pay check, and I quote from said story:

Johnson receives:

  • $7.425 million, the equivalent of three years salary
  • $1.375 million, the equivalent of a one year cash bonus
  • $1.5 million in a “parachute” payment

So let’s see here, this guy ‘earns’ 2.4 MILLION bucks a year, not a bad little number. He gets a one year bonus, presumably for NOT being there, and a parachute payment for leaving.

Hell, if I had that sort of parachute payment to look forward to for quitting, I’d be gone tomorrow, never mind the rest.

In comparison, this merger resulted in many people (in the hundreds) losing their jobs. You can bet they did not get three years salary, a bonus and parachute payment to keep them going for a while. I believe they did get ‘something’ but we are not talking apples to apples here, more like melons and grapes!

But here’s where it really stinks in my opinion, and it’s not just limited to Mr Johnson’s fine example. Businesses will tell you that these ‘execs’ deserve all that pay and bonuses because they operate at a different level (ain’t that the truth) from ‘the rest of us and thus have to be rewarded differently. Well, you know, the last time I had a poor annual review at work, I didn’t get a raise and while part of me says that that sucks, I can see a certain ‘fairness’ in it. However these jokers seem to get a raise anytime the sun comes up.

Businesses will tell you that they need these people, that they are important and that ‘might’ be true or it might be total BS (I suspect the latter). But with VERY FEW exceptions (think Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Henry Ford), very few of these execs have every actually had to lay it all on the line. They climb the corporate ladder and pat themselves on the back at how clever and important (the think) they are.

I am not saying though that having good leaders is not important, but you know what, so is having good employees. The guy that cleans the office at night or the toilets is just as important as they guy at the helm. Just look at any city when the garbage guys go on strike. It does not take long (especially in summer) for the trash to pile up and become, not only a stinking mess, but a serious health hazard as well. Don’t think the garbage guys are important? Stop paying them for a while and see what happens to your standard of living!

And that’s my point, a company is not the guy at the top, nor is it the guy at the bottom. It is everyone involved. Those execs with their fancy bonus payments and stock options are worth nothing at all without the people below them to do the actual real work. Just as a ship without a captain is probably going to go aground, the captain of a ship without a crew is the captain of nothing.

I find it abhorrent that in today’s economy with so many people out of work and struggling to just survive, that someone would get paid ten million dollars for QUITTING their job, even more so after only ONE DAY! Even worse is that this guy and those around him seem to think that this is actually fair!

The same applies to the salaries and bonuses these execs pay themselves. Who the hell (and I don’t care who it is) is worth (or needs) two million dollars, and sometimes a lot more, a year? And for what? Standing on the shoulders of others.

Now you might argue that I might have a different opinion if I was one of those execs, getting all that money. And I cannot say I would not agree with you in that case.  But the reality is that I don’t NEED two millions dollars a year, or three or four or a ten million buck payout for quitting my job (it does make you wonder though what you’d get for actually staying on and DOING the bloody job!). Would three or four million dollars be nice? Of course it would but what does it really give me other than a certain ‘stability’, and I guess people with money probably worry just as much about losing it as those without it do about actually acquiring it. Funny old world isn’t it?

Mr Johnson will probably walk into another high paying executive job pretty quickly. I guess he really does get to have his cake and eat it. I’d be more impressed if both Mr Johnson, and the board that sanctioned this ridiculous payout were to use that money instead to help those other workers that had to leave this new joint company through no fault of their own. They did not have a choice. At least Bill Johnson did.

Maybe I expect too much. OK, I KNOW I expect too much but it’s time that the business leaders of this country started to realize that treating the people of this country like disposable and replaceable assets is a road paved with failure. After all, when no one has job, who will buy your products.

The other thing to remember is that the last time someone treated the people this country unfairly, they declared their Independence.  Just because you happen to stand on the same soil as the rest of us does not mean that it cannot and will not happen again.

That ‘ain’t fair…

April 4, 2011

Here in good ol’ North Carolina we have to buy our liquor from government approved and run stores. Since they are a monopoly they can charge stupid prices (and they do) for booze which just means more money in the government’s coffers (god help them if we all suddenly gave up all sins like smoking and booze!).

But what really, REALLY irks me is that they then have the balls to charge me SALES TAX as well! And since the price is already jacked up, they get to take even more $ out of my pocket.

Don’t try to hard, they will arrest you in Raleigh…

February 3, 2011

You’d think that in these economic times the state, hell anyone, would appreciate a little help, especially when it is well done.

Not so the city of Raleigh, or more precisely the state DOT.

According to this story doing something too well can land you in hot water.

In summary:

The state DOT conducted a survey on traffic signal requirements for a road and decided they were not required.

The local neighborhood decided to do their own survey and presented very well done, comprehensive and professional report to the state DOT. It did also just so happen to come to a different conclusion to that of the state report. I.E. The new new junctions really do need signals.

Now you’d think the state DOT would be at least interested in this report. But no, instead of accepting it as a job well done by concerned citizens (and at least considering it), they instead charged one of the writers of the report of  “practicing engineering without a license”.

 

So, this guy did his homework on how to do this study (not hard in today’s internet age) and produced a very professional report. He has never claimed to be an engineer but because he did such a good job they want to charge him with a misdemeanor.

I hope the state DOT realizes what an ass they have made of themselves. I hope they also consider hiring this guy. He’s obviously better at their jobs then they are.

Gotta love living in Raleigh!