Contract negotiations between the Interior Gas Utility board of directors and the utility's general manager are underway.
Dan Britton is asking for a 3% raise, to $265,526, a year and changes to retirement vesting and a loyalty provision, according to a proposal provided to the IGU board Tuesday.
The public utility, owned by the Fairbanks North Star Borough, is responsible for expanding natural gas availability in Fairbanks and North Pole using loans from a state agency and other financing. The IGU business plan involves trucking natural gas to the Interior and storing it in huge tanks as opposed to getting it off a pipeline.
The negotiations with Britton follow another contract involving four IGU employees who recently joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Those workers negotiated hourly wage increases ranging from 22% to 49%, though they gave up other benefits, including medical, vision and dental plans provided by the IGU plus an employer contribution to a 401(k) plan. That contract was approved Aug. 20 at a special IGU board meeting.
For Britton’s contract, the utility hired an executive compensation consultant, Milliman, for a comparison of executive salaries, but board members complained that the analysis provided Tuesday was either incomplete or difficult to understand.
The Daily News-Miner was unable to obtain the document after multiple requests.
Board member Pamela Throop said she wanted more data. Board member Jack Wilbur wanted an explanation.
“All I am looking for is someone to explain the report to us in a board meeting,” he said. “That is all I am looking for.”
Britton expressed doubt the consultant would provide raw data in connection with the analysis. He also said he doesn’t think there is an executive position comparable to his.
Board Chairman Steve Haagenson agreed with Britton, but board member Gary Wilken told Britton that it wasn’t for Britton to say.
IGU attorney Rene Broker said she would review the contract with Milliman to see if the board could get more details on the executive salaries in the analysis.
In addition to the salary increase, Britton is asking to change a loyalty clause that restricts his post-employment activity for a period of 36 months. Britton wants it reduced to one year but is offering to expand the scope as applying outside of Alaska. Currently, the clause restricts Britton’s activity within Alaska.
The clause states Britton “shall not” make statements or perform any act that would hurt the gas utility. He also cannot hire away employees or make deals based on his association with the gas company.
Britton’s salary is much less than that of Cory Borgeson, president and CEO of the area’s largest utility, the Golden Valley Electric Association, a cooperative. But it is more than some other public employees serving in executive positions in the Fairbanks area.
Borgeson told GVEA members at the last annual membership meeting that he is paid an annual salary of $442,000.
Karen Gaborik, superintendent of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, is paid $165,000 a year under her contract with the school board.
Borough Mayor Bryce Ward is paid an annual salary of $107,910, according to borough budget documents. His chief of staff is paid $133,920.
University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen is paid an annual base salary of $325,000 with an annual performance bonus of up to $75,000.
University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Dan White reportedly makes $300,000 a year.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.