Big raises at EZCorp, SJW…

Given that the economy is still largely in the doldrums and the unemployment rate stands at 10%, those people who still have a job, especially one that pays a lot of money, feel pretty lucky. But two recent disclosures at two different companies — SJW Corp. and EZCorp (EZPW) made us realize that some people are luckier than most.

That’s because top executives at both companies didn’t just get raises. They got RAISES, as in very large ones. At EZCorp., which filed its 10-K last week, most of the top executives will see their base salaries increase by around 20%. CEO Joseph Rotunda, for example, is getting a 22% increase in his base salary to $975K from $800K. And Chairman Sterling Brinkley is getting a 24% raise to $775,000. The figures seem particularly ironic given the type of business that EZCorp, which operates the EZPawn chain of pawn and EZMoney payday loan outlets, is in. Both outlets have clearly benefitted from the downturn in the economy. Granted, the company says that some of the increase is due to their effort to make compensation more transparent by eliminating perks such as company-paid country club memberships.

Over at SJW, the salary increases are even heftier. On Friday, the company, which operates the San Jose Water Company, filed this 8-K disclosing the raises for several top executives. CEO W. Richard Roth will make $625K starting in January — a 31.5% increase over the $475K he made this year. The filing doesn’t give any explanation for the hefty raise, nor does it say what Roth was making before, so you have to dig through older filings in order to get a comparison. It’s clear the company didn’t want to disclose this number because in the very same filing, it does provide a comparison for another executive who’s getting a raise: CFO David Green, whose salary is going up around 13%.

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