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Smithsonian cuts salaries of execs

August 30, 2008|From the Associated Press

At least 17 Smithsonian Institution executives with six-figure salaries will see future pay cuts -- many in the tens of thousands of dollars -- under reforms adopted by the museum complex.

According to figures released recently by the Smithsonian Institution, the chief financial officer could see the biggest reduction. If the cuts planned for five years from now were made today, CFO Alice Maroni could lose as much as $120,000, or 41% of her base salary of $293,280. Others could see reductions ranging from $6,000 to more than $80,000 a year.

Nonprofit watchdogs and members of Congress have been questioning salaries at the Smithsonian since former Secretary Lawrence Small's compensation grew to nearly $916,000 for 2007. Small resigned in March 2007 when it was revealed he was also charging the Smithsonian for housekeeping and repairs to his home swimming pool, among other expenses.

The Smithsonian will wait five years to reduce the 17 executives' salaries to blunt the effect and prevent a mass exodus of leadership. The jobs were targeted because they were similar to federal government positions that pay less.

Exceptions will be granted for directors of museums and other posts, which require significant fundraising duties.

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