In any private enterprise, there is a matrix, a list of expectations given to any employee; and if those expectations are met, management might provide a raise or a bonus or a combination of the two for a job well done.
A few months ago when the Commission on Consolidated Utilities told the public that the raises given to top executives were based on their talent and performance, no one argued that the raises weren’t deserved or that they weren’t necessary for retention of skilled and educated people.
The issue, from the perspective of ratepayers, was the manner in which the raises were given. The discussion was held behind closed doors and a final vote made in public – sans any public discussion - took less than a minute.
When it was determined that the raises were given in an illegal fashion, the CCU rescinded the raises. GWA General Manager Miguel Bordallo returned the bonus given to him. GPA General Manager John Benavente hasn’t made a public comment, but we assume that he too had returned the bonus given to him.
The recordings of that executive private meeting in which those discussions were held were recently released.
We were disappointed. It was revealed that the raises and bonuses that were given were completely arbitrary. One commissioner, in the course of the meeting, asked about a bonus for the CCU secretary – who apparently a few years ago received an approximate $4,000 pay adjustment. Commissioner Judith Guthertz said perhaps this time a different amount would be fitting and said perhaps a $5,000 bonus would be fitting.
No one stopped and said, well, the secretary’s performance in this area wasn’t so stellar, but she did above expectations here so perhaps $5,000 would be good. There was no such discussion for any of the raises or the bonuses. Instead, commissioners licked their index fingers and held it up to the wind to determine how they would retain top-notch employees and reward the difficult efforts of managers.
Their decision-making was arbitrary and shows a capriciousness with which the commissioners spend ratepayers' dollars.
What makes it so damning is they even discussed how ratepayers would react to the news of top managers getting salary increases for no other reason than the wind was blowing from the north today.