- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2020

President Trump on Monday said he fired the chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority and called for the ouster of CEO Jeff Lyash, the nation’s highest-paid federal employee, noting that he received more than $8 million last year while moving to replace U.S. workers with foreigners.

“Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, then you will hear two simple words — ‘You’re fired,’” Mr. Trump said at the White House.

The president said he was removing TVA Chairman James “Skip” Thompson and another board member. He said the board must hire immediately a new CEO who “puts the interests of Americans first.”

The president’s comments came as he signed an executive order on hiring Americans. During the session at the White House, the president said he received a message from Mr. Lyash that he was willing to reverse course on the layoffs.

Mr. Trump can’t fire the head of the TVA, an independent federal agency with a nine-member board appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Mr. Lyash oversees the largest government utility in the U.S.

But the president is putting pressure on the TVA board to remove Mr. Lyash and “to ensure the CEO does not receive a lavish compensation package upon his departure too,” he said.

“He gets $8 million a year, and I can think of about almost 100% of the people I know would take that job,” the president said. “He gets $8 million a year, so that was just a succession of deep-swamp things happening and it’s a disgrace.”

U.S. Tech Workers, a national organization opposed to importing information technology workers has been lobbying Mr. Trump in TV advertisements to stop the TVA from outsourcing much of its IT division. It has criticized the utility for using foreign workers with H1-B1 visas to perform computer work.

The utility laid off 64 IT workers in June. Mr. Lyash, whose base salary of $920,000 is more than twice the president’s pay of $400,000, received more than $8.1 million in his first six months of the job at TVA in 2019. The sum includes $5.97 million in the change in pension value for future payout, provided he remains on the job for five years.

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