A look at tax records for more than 230 nonprofits in New Orleans shows compensation for CEOs and other top-paid employees varies widely depending on the sector and size of the organization. In general, the larger the organization is and the more national in scope its peer group, the bigger its paychecks are.The report comes with a handy search tool in case you're looking for something that isn't in the slideshow. Here are the top "earners."
At least 17 nonprofit executives in New Orleans make more than $300,000 a year, including three who were paid more than $500,000 for the year, according to a NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune analysis of the latest IRS filings available and Guidestar.org reports.
What really jumps out at you here is the money thrown around by organizations in direct receipt of public money like Audubon or the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also the Sugar Bowl seems to do pretty well thanks to its partnership with NOCVB and the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District where we find the great bulk of our hotel/motel tax revenue directed. Add to that the fact that the Sugar Bowl exists at all thanks to the unpaid labor of college athletes risking their health for these ghouls and you start to wonder how some people sleep at night. (On stacks of cash, yes, I know.)
And then there is the NOCVB itself. Look how modest they are.
In emailed statements, board members for the Convention and Visitors Bureau, said CEO Stephen Perry and his team manage a giant economic engine that markets the city through three domestic travel offices and five overseas, amounting to, as businessman and board member Greg Rusovich put it, "what is virtually Louisiana's third Fortune 500 company."See? Perry's half a million dollars a year is actually "low" by their definition. And for all that great work he does non-profiting off of our low wage economy (Minus 2,400 hospitality jobs over the past twelve months!) you have to admit we're getting a real bargain there.
The board reached Perry's $439,840 compensation in 2014 by looking at what his peers were paid in 10 competing U.S. cities. The board then took the average of the five lowest paid executives.
The hilarious thing is NOLA.com spends hardly any space in this report talking about the public investment in building these individual fortunes. All we get, really, is this one paragraph about Perry's compensation.
Where the money comes from is also a concern. New Orleans' hotel tax is a key source of funding for the board. Steve Pettus, board treasurer and managing partner at Dickie Brennan & Co., said board rules specifically stipulate CEO pay must be funded by private sector dollars.Money being fungible and all, though, this is pretty meaningless.What it means, in practice, is that once NOCVB has finished leveraging public money away from public service and into the pockets of hoteliers, marketers, developers, etc., they can pay the CEO out of the kickbacks they receive in donations.