Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which paid $4.6 million in bonuses to executives following a June fire that led to the refinery’s closure and bankruptcy, wants to pay out a new round of retention awards, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
But this time the company wants to keep the recipients and the bonuses a secret, Kallanish Energy understands.
PES Holdings LLC asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in Delaware to approve an employee retention plan, though it wants to keep details of the awards confidential to reduce the “negative impact on employee morale” and also the chances that competitors could use the information to recruit and poach personnel, the Inquirer reported.
The company, whose 335,000-barrel-per-day South Philadelphia facility was the largest refining complex on the East Coast before it closed, laid off most of its 1,100 employees while it works through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process and looks for a buyer.
“It’s infuriating,” Ryan O’Callaghan, a spokesman for Steelworkers Local 10-1, which represents refinery workers, told the Inquirer. “It’s more of the same thievery from PES management. The refinery could be running now. Executives should not profit from their own failures.”
Representatives of the refinery did not respond to requests for comment.
The refinery took a lot of verbal heat in September after it disclosed it had paid out roughly $4.6 million in retention bonuses — before its bankruptcy filing — to eight executives after the June fire closed the giant complex along the Schuylkill River. The bonuses included a $1.5 million award to CEO Mark Smith.
Companies undergoing bankruptcy proceedings sometimes pay retention bonuses to keep key employees in place, because it is difficult to find replacement help for a company with an unsure future.
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