SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Transit Authority will not pay out the annual bonus to employees this spring. The decision comes at a time in which UTA has come under fire for what some see as exorbitant executive salaries. Last week Gov. Gary Herbert said he was shocked when he learned UTA's acting chief executive officer John Inglish earns $348,929 a year between his salary and bonuses, an amount Herbert called "excessive." Several other UTA officials make more than $200,000 a year, not including bonuses.
Typically, about 250 executives, managers and staffers receive incentive checks each spring, based on performance of the previous year.
But the funds in the coffers at UTA have dwindled, and UTA has cut back bus and train service. Utahns in the six-county area in which UTA operates and receives a portion of sales taxes have been spending less money, thanks to the recession.
Canceling the bonuses may calm the nerves of some Utahns who have criticized UTA recently over Inglish's salary, which makes him one of the highest paid public transit officials in the U.S. Last year, Inglish received a bonus of $42,840.
"The UTA executive team has been meeting over the past few weeks in an ongoing effort to balance the 2010 budget," said UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter. "The decision not to pay a performance incentive this year (2010) was finalized (recently) and planned to be announced at the April 28 board meeting as part of the board discussion on 2009 goal achievement."
UTA's budget years are the same as calendar years, and in December, when UTA's Board of Trustees approved a $181.8 million operating budget for 2010 they ordered Inglish and his staff to trim $6.5 million to come in the black by the end of the year. At the beginning of April, bus and train routes were scaled back, which will result in about $3 million in savings.
UTA employees also have not received a pay raise this year, and UTA isn't paying for increases in health insurance premiums, meaning employees are taking home less money this year than last.
Salt Lake City resident Tammi Diaz, whose routes have been affected by recent UTA changes, said she likes the idea that UTA employees will feel the budget crunch, since the public has. But she wants Inglish, who has been UTA's general manager for 13 years and will likely be promoted to CEO by the trustees on Wednesday, to feel money cuts more sharply. "When it comes to the executive salaries, I'm not pleased with them," she said.
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