Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Report Blasts High Pay for Ex-Chief of Smithsonian

Report Blasts High Pay for Ex-Chief of Smithsonian

Even though his supposed fund-raising acumen was used to justify his ballooning salary, the chief executive of the Smithsonian Institution raised less private money for the museum complex last year than his predecessor did in 1999, an independent committee said in a scathing report issued today.

Salary and other compensation for the executive, Lawrence M. Small, whose formal title was Smithsonian secretary, soared from $536,000 in 2000 to $915,000 in 2006, the report said. But ultimately, it added, the institution became more dependent on taxpayer funds and obtained less of its budget from private donations during his tenure.

Mr. Small resigned in March amid growing controversy over his lavish expense-account spending.

From 2000 to 2006, the report said, he also took 70 weeks of vacation — nearly 10 weeks a year — and spent 64 business days serving on corporate boards that paid him a total of $5.7 million.

It gets even worse. For lovers of this great institution, what a source of shame and regret.

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