Bill Johnson, Board of Public Utilities’ general manager, will be receiving a two-year contract extension and a raise.
The BPU board voted 4-2 to approve the contract extension Wednesday.
It will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
David Haley, a board member, said Johnson currently is thought to be the highest paid public employee in Wyandotte County, at upwards of $300,000 a year currently plus perks, with the raise around $35,000. The original proposed raise was 8 percent, with some board members advocating 5 percent.
Jeff Bryant, board member, at the meeting moved to extend the general manager’s contract for two years, effective Jan. 1, 2023. The vote was 4-2 with David Haley and Rose Mulvany Henry voting no.
The board did not discuss the issue in open session, but went into a closed executive session to discuss it before voting in open session Wednesday.
Haley explained his vote after the meeting by saying the amount of the increase approaches what the average Wyandotte County resident makes in a year. He said he hears from customers who say their utility bills are too high.
While he values Johnson’s work, Haley said it was not a good financial fit for the BPU.
Johnson has been with the utility 43 years. He became general manager in April 2019. He was manager of electric operations and technology prior to becoming general manager. In September, Johnson was named to Ingram’s Magazine list of the 250 most powerful business leaders in the Greater Kansas City area.