The Smithsonian Board has decided to change the salary structure for its executive staff. Salaries currently range to a high of $500,000 for its CEO and go as low as $158,000 (check the article to make sure these numbers are correct).
The new salary structure is going to lower the particularly higher paid execs to within legislative mandates but not the CEO.
How the salaries have been allowed to exceed federal rules in the first place I can't explain except to say that the board has been irresponsible and the feds haven't used their muscle.
But lets put this set of facts (ok, opinion) aside, I still want to better understand the criteria that goes into keeping the $500,000 CEO salary and re-arranging the remaining salaries. There certainly is the reality that other US mega-museums pay even more than this for the caretaking of invaluable objects. Excepting hospitals and universities and of course, some mega-churches, executive salaries rarely come close to the new Smithsonian amounts in the remaining nonprofit sector.
So what gives? Does the unique role of these nonprofit warrant high salaries? Should there be another nonprofit tax code to accommodate these institutions' perceived need to match the corporate for-profit world's pay schedules?