When the Overton Power District (OPD) Board of Trustees met yesterday at 4 p.m. they gave General Manager Mendis Cooper an $11,427 pay raise. The 6 percent increase will take his salary to $155,909 with benefits on top of that.
Cooper was appointed to his position in July 2013 after the previous general manager Delmar Lathem retired. Since then Mesquite, OPD’s biggest customer area, has suffered two major power outages; eight hours in September 2014 and the recent 17 hour outage on March 6 and 7.
Background material for the agenda item says that a committee met with the general manager and completed a performance review in January. It goes on to justify the pay increase by saying “The average compensation for general managers in the region, regardless of size, is $169,803. The average compensation for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) General Managers/CEOs based on size is $178,200.”
The committee recommended the 6 percent increase.
Mike Young, one of Mesquite’s two representatives on the Board told the Mesquite Local News that Cooper’s pay needed to brought in line “with his contemporaries.”
In May 2014 Cooper received a $3,561 raise retroactive to January 2014 and a three-year contract effective in June 2014.
“We did use a format that uses the NRECA, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association puts out and it points out certain guidelines that you evaluate the general manager on based on how he performed in those areas,” said then-Mesquite board member James Pugh when that pay raise was awarded.
The board also approved a pay raise in May 2014 of $1 per hour for line foremen and foremen, retroactive to January 2014. Line foremen and foremen received another $1 per hour raise in July 2014 and again on Jan. 1, 2015.