A public records lawsuit made headlines in Nebraska this week by disclosing severance payments for former executives overseeing the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant.Fort Calhoun was offline for more than two and half years following flooding on the adjacent Missouri River and a fire that led to a red finding and intensive oversight from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. An extensive improvement program was put in place and Exelon now manages plant operations for the Omaha Public Power District. Shortly after Exelon took over in 2012, OPPD Chief Nuclear Officer David J. Bannister resigned.The Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1483, which represents about a fourth of OPPD's employees, pursued legal action to compel the release of compensation information for several OPPD managers who left in the last five years. The Omaha World-Herald reported Wednesday that payments to seven former managers totaled nearly $1 million, including $255,600 in severance and $100,000 in unused vacation time paid to Bannister. The paper also reported that OPPD's former site vice president and division managers of nuclear engineering and nuclear performance improvement received severance payments between $100,000 and $144,000.
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Those payments do not seem out of line to me. In fact compared to other Nuclear companies and non-nuclear companies they seem extremely low. Of course the non-profit Public power districts in NE pay the senior leadership much less then their counterparts that work for-profit companies. The NPPD CEO makes less than most SVPs at for profit nuclear plants in total compensation. These people that work for OPPD and NPPD do it less for the money and more to be part of improving NE. When I moved into the management ranks I ended up leaving Nebraska to work for a for-profit company due to the significant compensation increase for the same job (60% more when you look at pay, bonuses, and stock options). This allowed me to retire at 50 and move back to MO and enjoy my kids growing up without having to work. The extremely lower cost of living in the MW also helped (5 bd/4 ba house on 260 acres 10 miles outside of Springfield cost 245k and taxes are 1136 a year).
So What is the point of the lawsuit? This is normal and I'm sure that the same type of payments are made to people when severed NOT in the nuclear industry. If this is an attempt by the unions to embarrase people, they better look harder to find something and look internally.