MLGW drops the term "car allowance" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MLGW drops the term "car allowance"

Criticism of car allowances at MLGW has plagued the public utility for months.

"We have had a lot of really political fire-storms because of this, good or bad," said MLGW President Joseph Lee.

Regardless, Lee decided to give up his $12,000 per year allowance.

"I don't know what's next," he said "Are my holidays and vacation and everything supposed to be reduced?"

Other top MLGW executives will no longer get car allowances either. But their salary won't drop. The board simply voted to drop the term "car allowance."

"It was part of the conditions for which they came and worked for MLGW," he said.

Directors say the compensation has been in place for nearly 20 years. It's one way the utility can attract qualified employees and political pressure is no reason to scrap it.

"For us to take that compensation away from them, after they've agreed to take these jobs and responsibilities, that's just not right--that's just not right," said Rick Mason, an MLGW board member.

But rate-payers facing higher heating bills don't think it's fair.

"I think if they were more economic with their resources, we could all benefit," said MLGW customer Shannon Wiley.

What used to be called car allowances will become part of regular salaries effective January 1.

"As far as we're concerned, that's the end of the story," said Lee.

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