SAN ANTONIO - The top man at CPS Energy is in talks for a new contract. We’ve learned our Trouble Shooters investigations into bonuses and spending at the city-run utility are having an impact on those negotiations.
After a series of Trouble Shooter reports, the CPS Energy board hired a consulting firm to do a study. It compared what CEO Doyle Beneby, and other employees, are paid to the compensation at other utilities around the country. The board is now using that information in negotiations with Beneby over a new contract.
Earlier this year Trouble Shooter Brian Collister uncovered that CPS Energy handed out a record $16 million in bonuses to employees. That included $410,000 to CEO Doyle Beneby, which doubled Beneby's annual salary, up to $820 thousand.
After that report the CPS Energy board immediately ordered the study of what other utilities pay in salaries and bonuses. The results came back in October and now talks have begun with Beneby on a new contract.
“My understanding is that the board of trustees has had a couple of conversations with Mr. Beneby about a contract renewal,” said Lisa Lewis, VP of Corporate Communications and Media Relations at CPS Energy.
When asked whether the board was using the results of the salary study in those negotiations, Lewis responded, “I believe they wanted to have that information in hand before they proceeded, yes.”
Which might explain why Beneby hasn't been offered a contract yet. His current contract is up in July. If a company wants an executive to stay, it's common to make them an offer months before the contract runs out.
“You sign them as early as possible because you want to lock them down and prevent them from some other place hiring them,” said David Macpherson, Professor of Economics at Trinity University.
Despite the lavish meal expenses uncovered by the Trouble Shooters, the CPS Energy board says Beneby has done a good job running the utility, and one industry group named him CEO of the year.
So how does Beneby's pay compare to the CEO's of other utilities? CPS Energy isn't releasing those study results until the next board meeting in late January.