Here's one from the "In Case You Missed It" file: Consolidated Edison, the same power company that stumbled badly in its efforts to get the lights turned back on after super storm Sandy brought swaths of New York and New Jersey to its knees in October, paid out more than $4 million in incentive bonuses to key executives.
No real news here, right? Let's face it – publicly-traded companies pay out big executive bonuses all the time, come rain, sun or – ahem – hurricane.
Yet here's the kicker: ConEd explicitly linked the payouts to the performance of what turned out to be a tumultuous year, which included Sandy, a work stoppage and a sweltering summer that triggered power outages across the city.
According to ConEd's proxy statement, the CEO, the CFO and the president deserved "recognition of their efforts in guiding ConEdison of New York through significant challenges encountered in 2012." Really?
Based on that logic, CEO Kevin Burke got more than $1.8 million, president Craig Ivey earned about $877,000, and CFO Robert Hoglund reaped nearly $500,000 in additional money. ConEd's general counsel and the head of its Orange and Rockland Counties unit raked in $420,000 and $716,600, respectively.
The sleuths over at Footnoted.com, which first reported on the filing earlier this month, point out a few things in ConEd's defense: namely, that the bonuses awarded last year were virtually identical to the previous two. And to be fair to the company, its compensation policies are based on a "peer group" formula that pays its executives roughly what other publicly-traded utilities earn.