Common sense isn't clicking with board
The click can be a powerful tool. Applied to a computer mouse, used in conjunction with keyboard strokes, its potential is virtually limitless. The click can serve as a gateway to vast amounts of valuable information and less useful updates on the Kardashians.
Too bad the VisitPittsburgh board treats the click as an activity too hazardous for most people to try without risking serious injury. The tourism agency could have saved money recently by lifting its apparent policy restricting the maneuver to only those employees wearing heavily layered protective garb.
VisitPittsburgh hired a consultant to examine its employee salaries, which some elected officials labeled excessive. The criticism isn't surprising, considering the best-known convention Pittsburgh attracts annually is the Anthrocon, an event that floods Downtown streets with people dressed as wolves and unicorns.
The agency's board wants to determine whether the compensation paid to high-level administrators such as outgoing Executive Chairman Joseph McGrath, who pulled in $386,000 in 2011, is, not to resort to technical jargon, freaking ridiculous. Ideally, the determination would have occurred before the salaries were paid, but some value exists in contemplating shutting the door even if the barn is long devoid of horses.
VisitPittsburgh hasn't revealed what the study will cost. Such reticence to disclose public information is a telltale sign that an agency that probably is overpaying its executives realizes that it is probably overpaying a consultant to determine that it probably is overpaying its executives.
The consultant expenditure will prove excessive no matter what its cost when you consider the salary review easily could be done in-house if the board only would unleash the click. Want me to prove it? Very well.
With just a few clicks on my computer, I found a March 22 report on tourism bureau CEO salaries in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Does it provide apples-to-apples comparisons to Pittsburgh? No. Many tourism bureaus have only a CEO. Until McGrath retires in June, VisitPittsburgh has an executive chairman and a CEO: Craig Davis, who made $225,000 in 2011.
Still, the report contains plenty of relevant information. McGrath, the agency's unquestioned head for more than two decades, pulled in less in 2011 than tourism bureau heads in Los Angeles ($535,295), San Francisco ($441,000) and San Diego ($435,000), but more than his counterparts in Chicago ($375,000), Washington ($344,000) and Las Vegas ($225,000).
Whether you believe McGrath deserved to make more than the heads of tourism bureaus in much larger markets depends largely on the value you place on wolves, unicorns and other furry creatures parading around the convention center. But no one should believe VisitPittsburgh needs to pay a consultant to unearth information easily accessible via something Anthrocon attendees would be thrilled to have at their gathering.
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Malkin could return Wednesday at Edmonton
- Tennessee QB considers transfer to Pitt
- Westmoreland Museum makeover draws raves
- Franklin Regional wrestling rallies to top Belle Vernon, defend team title
- Pitt upsets No. 8 Notre Dame to snap losing streak
- Sax player finds fulfillment in new home
- Statewide program planned to train first responders on hazards of natural gas vehicles
- Exhibit at Kerr Museum in Oakmont explores grief during Victorian times
- Central Catholic safety Petrishen to sign with Penn State
- Burrell wrestling wins 9th straight Class AA team title
- Accused Kennedy killer’s casket must go to brother, judge rules