It's good to be a CEO. You can get great pay, rich options awards, dreamy perks like corporate jets, and as long as you don't steer your company completely into the ditch, you don't really have to do much to justify it.

Heck, as long as you can keep your paws off your fellow execs, it's a pretty sweet life. And even if you do screw up royally, you can be facing up to 85 years of jail time for fraud and still have the luxury of being whisked away from your trial in a taxicab.

It seems to this Fool like the CEOs of Sprint (NYSE:FON) and soon-to-be-acquired-by-Sprint Nextel (NASDAQ:NXTL) are sitting pretty these days. Once the deal closes, the CEO of Sprint, Gary Forsee, will be CEO of the combined company, while Nextel's top dog, Tim Donahue, will be kicked upstairs to become chairman. And, according to a recent 8-K filing with the SEC, the boards of both companies decided to raise the two CEOs' pay to $1.4 million each (from $1.2 million) and also raise their potential annual bonuses.

No big deal you say? OK, fair enough. After all, you can argue that both CEOs have done a good job of late, especially if you choose to measure performance by stock-price appreciation. But wait, there's more! Both boards also approved special bonuses that could see each man receive up to $20 million in the two years following the merger.

What rankles me about this is that there's nothing in the documents that really justifies or explains the rewards. Although the 8-Ks say that they are "performance-based," they don't tell us what sort of metrics will be used to determine performance. Does the combined company have to reach certain growth targets? How about profitability or cash-flow hurdles? Maybe all that's required is for the two men to just continue being swell guys.

Admittedly, the two awards barely amount to any sort of EPS impact at all, but that's not really the point. The point is that here are two more examples of boards handing big checks to their head honchos without bothering to justify their actions to their employees or owners (also known as shareholders).

Were I a shareholder of either company, I think I'd like to hold the boards' collective feet to the fire and force them to say precisely how and why these two CEOs are going to earn such a sweet payday. After all, shareholders, it's your company!

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).