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February 12, 2006


Interesting dilemma posted in the Corner Office blog. I think the mystery blogger handled this stand off remarkably well, but I think I might have done things a little differently.

Her president obviously doesn't know about the association's IRS form 990, which lists the top salaries for the association. My philosophy is always to make it easy for stakeholders to get the information they want as long as it's publicly accessible. If I were her, in addition to what she said, I probably would have said something like...

As a non-profit organization, the IRS requires us to publicly disclose salary information for our highest paid employees on a form called a 990. Since this is public information, in this envelope you'll find a copy of our most current 990. However, as for the other staff, I feel that their right to privacy outweighs the request for additional transparency. In the same way that I would never disclose your association-paid expenses to another association member, I hope you can understand why I must protect the specifics of my staff's salaries.
I might go on to talk about how I used salary surveys to peg salaries for staff, and how the auditors have never questioned the salaries, and how I'd welcome an executive committee conversation about potentially hiring a firm to conduct a salary benchmarking study for us.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments on my dilemma, Ben -- you are advising an absolutely correct approach.

As it turns out, I did suggest the 990 and remarked on its public availability and on the salary survey benchmarks. None of this satisfied her and I finally determined her motivation was nothing more than intense personal curiosity.

To cap it off I'll have our lawyer give her a call and again reinforce the notion of what corporate responsibility genuinely entails. Perhaps she'll be able to hear it more clearly from a source other than me.