President Trump announced Monday he's firing the Tennessee Valley Authority chair and is pushing for the ouster of the corporate agency's CEO, citing the authority's outsourcing of American jobs and high compensation.
Seated near TVA employees at a White House roundtable, the president blasted TVA chair James Thompson and CEO Jeffrey Lyash. Lyash is the highest paid federal employee, earning $8 million a year in total compensation. Mr. Trump said he's also removing board member Richard Howarth. The president said any new CEO must earn no more than $500,000.
The TVA is a federally owned corporation that provides services from electricity to flood control to an area covering parts of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. The TVA, which doesn't receive taxpayer funding, receives most of its revenues from electricity sales. The authority recently decided to outsource some of its technology jobs overseas.
"If you betray American workers, then you will hear two simple words: 'You're fired,'" the president said during a Cabinet Room meeting that included employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
As the meeting continued, the president told reporters the CEO of the TVA called to indicate he's willing to reverse course on hiring foreign workers, prompting claps from some in the room.
"Now maybe he'll take a major cut in salary," the president added.
Mr. Trump announced the leadership overhaul as he signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to limit their use of foreign contractors and to perform an audit on their use of foreign workers over the past two years, to ensure American workers aren't missing job opportunities. Mr. Trump has made his "America first" slogan a key part of his presidency.
The TVA said in a tweet that it supports the order and stated, "All TVA employees are U.S. citizens," and that work for its information technology department is performed "in the U.S. by individuals who may legally work in this country."
It also said that the board's members "serve at the pleasure of the President," and that the board's bylaws allow for it "to continue with its oversight function with the loss of one or more of its members."