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Lawmakers seek answers from Amtrak about lavish bonuses

Two House lawmakers are demanding answers from Amtrak’s board of administrators after a Post report revealed the ten highest-paid executives on the company had been awarded six-figure bonuses — even because the rail community hemorrhaged money.

Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in a letter to board chairman Anthony Coscia despatched Wednesday, mentioned the extravagant rewards –“paid largely from taxpayer funds” — had been an affront to on a regular basis Amtrak workers.

“Payment of lavish executive bonuses when Amtrak services and revenues remain below pre-pandemic levels, and financial losses appear permanent, seem inappropriate, wasteful, and disrespectful to Amtrak’s nonexecutive, front-line employees and taxpayers,” states the letter.

Republican Reps. Republicans Rick Crawford of Arkansas and Sam Graves of Missouri, who signed the letter, famous the bonuses had been doled out at a time of turmoil on the rail line, which they mentioned had adjusted working earnings of adverse $789 million in 2020 and adverse $1.03 billion in 2021.

They requested the board present them with answers to 5 questions, together with the metrics on which efficiency bonuses are based mostly; how these evaluate with related corporations closely financed by the federal authorities; and the board’s function in figuring out bonuses.

John Samuelsen of Transport Workers Union (TWU) testifies on Capitol Hill in 2019.

Amtrak doled out bonuses to its top executives as the rail line’s revenues plummeted.
Amtrak doled out bonuses to its high executives because the rail line’s revenues plummeted.

William Flynn, Amtrak's president and CEO, testifies during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
William Flynn, Amtrak’s president and CEO, testifies throughout the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee listening to on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

“Given Amtrak’s struggles are expected to continue indefinitely, we remain concerned about plans for awarding executive bonuses when the company expects billions of dollars in annual future losses,” the congressmen wrote.

The letter got here weeks after a Post report that confirmed the top-10 Amtrak earners in 2021 raked in six-figure bonuses that, in a single occasion, practically doubled a high govt’s annual wage. The New York Times first reported on the extravagant compensation packages. 

Data acquired by The Post by way of a Freedom of Information Act request confirmed the ten top-earners on the rail line padded out their “gross income” within the year 2021 with eye-popping “earned incentive” bonuses. 

According to the figures, William Herrmann, the rail line’s vp senior managing deputy common counsel, seems to have cashed within the largest earned incentive bonus in 2021. 

Herrmann had a base wage of $352,898, however raked in a whopping $653,879.74, in keeping with the figures. His further pay of greater than $300,000 represents about 85% of his base wage. 

In an announcement on the time, an Amtrak spokesperson mentioned earned incentive bonuses are frequent within the transportation business and are extensively used within the non-public sector, the place executives are compensated at the next rate.

“To earn incentives, Amtrak must achieve a high level of corporate performance in support of our company’s strategic plan – and employees must also meet their individual performance goals,” the spokesperson mentioned.

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