Calgary business professor surprised by million-dollar bonus for Enmax exec
Vice-president Dave Rehn was given a $1.1M bonus last year
A business professor says he's surprised city-owned Enmax would pay one of its executives a 1-million dollar bonus.
Vice-president Dave Rehn was given the bonus last year for the successful completion of the Shepard power plant on time and on budget.
Allan Dwyer, an assistant business professor at Mount Royal University, says the bonus seems high — both for someone getting other bonuses for doing the job he was hired to do and for a government-owned company.
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"The number feels high, feels very high," Dwyer said.
On Thursday, Enmax Board Chair Greg Melchin said in a competitive market for management, incentives are critical for getting the right talent.
But Dwyer said those incentives need to be put in context with comparable public-sector jobs.
"When you're coming from the private sector going into the public sector at the municipal level to work in a role such as the one we're discussing, you'd expect that you're not going to be benchmarked against private industries," Dwyer said.
"It has to be benchmarked against the entity in question — Enmax, the City of Calgary. That's really your reference point, rather than what some high-flying CEO at a big oil company made."
Dwyer also pointed out the Rehn was paid the bonus for bringing the Shephard power plant online, which was why he was hired.
"A million bucks for essentially doing your job?" Dwyer said. "By all means incentivize him to do it well and get it in on time and under budget,but numbers do matter."
Enmax is fully owned by the City of Calgary. Couns. Brian Pincott and Peter Demong sit on the board for the utility company. Neither returned calls on Friday afternoon.
Dwyer says those approving the contract should explain why they'd allow a million-dollar bonus.
"Someone, — I would perhaps argue a little bit naively — went ahead and signed off on this thing," Dwyer said. "Who sees it? Whose eyes does this come in front of?"
The total compensation for the organization's top five executives exceeded $9 million in 2015.