Salary survey shows Miami's downtown agency competitive in search for director
By Catherine Lackner
Miami's Downtown Development Authority members are confident they will be able to afford a well-qualified director after hearing results of a national salary survey of comparable jobs.
In cities similar to Miami in size, where population exceeds 300,000, salaries for municipal directors of development range from less than $40,000 to more than $100,000, according to the survey, with 32% of the salaries falling into the $100,000-and-higher category.
Former director of Miami's downtown authority Patti Allen was being paid slightly more than $98,000 a year when she resigned abruptly in March. She received a severance package worth $83,156.
If Miami's Downtown Development Authority offers a prospective manager a salary package commensurate with its organizational counterparts "we should be able to get the best," said Loretta Cockrum, chairman of the authority's search committee. "I'm very encouraged."
Ms. Cockrum presented data last week from a report on CEO salaries compiled by the Washington, DC-based International Downtown Association. The survey was partially funded and obtained for the downtown agency by Joan Jorgenson Consulting, a search firm contracted by the 15-member authority to find candidates for the executive director's job.
A new salary for the position and job description will be worked out between Jorgenson and the search committee. The authority hopes to have a new executive director in place by September.
The Downtown Development Authority, with a budget of nearly $2 million, Ms. Cockrum said, "should be able to afford the best."
When salaries are ranked by organizational budgets, the pay for CEOs of cities and agencies with budgets above $1.5 million ranged from $68,000 to $178,000, with the average salary pegged at $121,166.
Across the country, the development CEO's total compensation in 2001 ranged from $26,100 to $260,000, with a median of $91,000, according to the survey. Compensation was up $12,000 from the 1999 survey.
Ms. Cockrum said Joan Jorgenson's Annapolis, MD-based firm was a good choice to lead the search because "this is all she does." "She has access to people who aren't necessarily looking for a job," Ms. Cockrum said. "She's going to talk with business leaders as well as with us to find out what kind of person we'd like to see in the job."
City of Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton, authority chairman, said he's been getting calls from people interested in the job "but I tell them this isn't my hire, it's a board hire."
"I've gotten calls, too," Ms. Cockrum said, "and some people are asking if we're going to do a real search. I tell them we absolutely are. They can watch the process if they don't believe us."