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Front Page » Top Stories » Arts Center Defers A Vote On Ceo Raise

Arts Center Defers A Vote On Ceo Raise

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Written by on August 2, 2007

By April M. Havens
The board of the Carnival Center’s Performing Arts Center Trust refused to vote on a resolution Tuesday to increase President and CEO Michael Hardy’s yearly salary nearly 42%, from $230,000 to $326,000, with the possibility of a performance bonus of up to 17.5% in October.

The resolution, approved by the trust’s executive committee at a July 9 meeting, is an attempt to fulfill Mr. Hardy’s contract, said Parker Thomson, chairman of the trust.

During the center’s construction phase in 2004, Mr. Hardy waived all bonuses and salary increases and has never received a raise, he said. Mr. Thomson said Mr. Hardy’s contract called for a salary increase after that phase was completed.

"We said when the center opened, we would ask for a determination of what six comparable-sized centers in the US pay in direct compensation and in bonuses and other forms of compensation," Mr. Thomson said.

The trust commissioned Performance Executive Search consultants to find six comparable CEO salaries, cut the highest and lowest amounts and average the remaining four to arrive at a salary for Mr. Hardy.

This base salary is not performance-related, Mr. Thomson said. A review panel is to meet in October to assess Mr. Hardy’s job performance. He could receive up to 17.5% in bonuses.

CFO John Burnett said the pay increase would come from ticket sales, rentals and concessions, not the $4.1 million in additional money the county recently gave the cash-strapped center.

Mr. Thomson said the trust would cover two-thirds of the salary and ask the Carnival Center Foundation to pay one-third. Now, the foundation pays just more than 20% of Mr. Hardy’s salary.

Some trust members voiced concern over the pay hike coming at a time that arts organizations are facing budget cuts and the center is struggling financially. They deferred a vote until September.