How much does Chris Huskilson’s secretary make?

Forget for the moment whether last week’s Emera executive bonuses come out of your right pocket or your left.

And don’t probe too deeply into whether the supposed wall between the cash shoveled into the bank accounts of Emera executives for the work they do for our own Nova Scotia Power electricity utility and the cash scooped into their pockets for the very different work they do for the larger entity called Emera is made of sand… or gossamer.

Let us consider just dollars and percentages.

Last week, Emera — the parent company of Nova Scotia Power, the once-over-lightly regulated, essentially-a-monopoly utility — announced its annual orgy of buck passing to its top executives.

An Emera board committee — charged with deciding how much more to reward Emera’s bosses in 2013 for doing what they were already being paid very well to do in 2012— decided CEO Chris Huskilson merited 54 per cent more last year, which is to say his paltry $3.1 million packet of salary, bonuses, options, pensions and perks in 2012 mushroomed into $4.7 million in 2013… which is to say he made more than $90,000 a week… which is to say he took home more than twice Nova Scotia’s annual average industrial wage… every week.

How many Emera executives does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Well, Rob Bennett, Emera’s COO, also sashayed out the door with $1.4 million, 23 per cent more than the year before, and Nancy Tower, vice president of business development, waltzed off with $1.2 million, 43 per cent more.

The committee explained it had carefully calculated the bloated executive compensation provided to those in similar companies, and came to the conclusion Emera’s executive pay was not quite bloated enough.

Added company spokesperson Sasha Irving: “Based on company growth and strong results under [Huskilson’s] leadership, the committee made the decision to increase his compensation to be reflective of that.”

Were executives the only one who contributed to that growth and strong results?

Did Huskilson’s secretary’s salary increase by 54 per cent?

How about Nova Scotia Power’s linemen and plant workers for … oh, right, they’re jobs are being contracted out in order to contribute to Emera’s good results, in order to generate Emera’s executive bonuses …


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