The Dana Pretzer Show – Monday, July 16th, 2007 – Special Guests Fred Rosen, Eric Spinato and Cheyenne Jackson
The Dana Pretzer Show on Scared Monkeys Radio: Monday July 16th 9pm et
- Author Fred Rosen - His new Book “There But For The Grace Of God: “Survivors Of The 20th Century’s Infamous Serial Killers”
- Eric Spinato – President and CEO Spinato & Associates on the article from the Sun Sentinel, “Aruba Official Top Choice for Palm Beach County Tourism Chief”
- Cheyenne Jackson – Discussing her missing brother, Cole Jackson
The Dana Pretzer Show – Monday, July 16th, 2007 – Special Guests Fred Rosen, Eric Spinato and Cheyenne Jackson [55:24m]: Download
Posted July 16, 2007 by Scared Monkeys
Aruba, Media, Missing Persons, Podcast, Scared Monkeys Radio | one comment
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Visitors bureau looks set to hire CEO at top pay
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 19, 2007
WEST PALM BEACH – Members of the county’s Convention and Visitors Bureau are expected to choose their new leader today and offer a compensation package that rivals the pay of most top county government officials.
Jorge Pesquera, president and chief operating officer of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, is the top choice of the bureau’s search committee to serve as its CEO/president. The tourism bureau’s full board of directors will decide today whether to formally offer him the job.
In hopes of luring Pesquera from his well-paying job, the bureau has put together a salary and bonus package that could bring his total pay to about $195,000 in his first year and more than $250,000 by his third.
In his first year on the job, Pesquera would make more than Deputy County Administrator Verdenia Baker, the county’s second-in-command and the one responsible for overseeing the county’s tourism-related agencies.
Bureau officials point to Pesquera’s 30 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. They also said they were impressed with how he handled himself during a crisis that played out in the national media.
Pesquera was head of Aruba’s tourism agency in 2005 when American citizen Natalee Holloway disappeared while on a graduation trip there. On his rÃ©sumÃ©, he takes credit for playing “the key role in the establishment of the strategic communications task force, which worked behind the scenes to minimize the impact of the Holloway story and effectively stopped calls for boycott by some U.S. elected officials.”
Pesquera, who officials say now makes about $250,000, would have to take a pay cut to come here. Officials have tentatively negotiated a three-year proposal that would bring Pesquera’s pay to his current level by offering bonuses using the bureau’s private accounts.
“I really believe this is a great choice,” Roy Assad, the search committee’s chairman, said of Pesquera. “I believe if you want to bring talent, you have to pay for it.”
Pay increases and bonuses for the bureau’s previous CEO, Warren “Mac” McLaughlin, were often controversial. McLaughlin was forced to retire in November when the bureau was in the midst of its nearly $1.6 million embezzlement scandal.
In 2005, the bureau spent nine months trying to boost McLaughlin’s pay, saying he was underpaid compared with other CEOs in comparably sized bureaus. The original proposal called for McLaughlin to be eligible for a $46,000 bonus, which could have brought his annual pay higher than what County Administrator Bob Weisman was making at the time. After county commissioners balked, the bureau gave McLaughlin a much smaller bonus – around $13,800 – out of its private accounts.
The bureau’s $10 million budget is largely paid for by bed taxes, a 5 percent tax visitors pay on hotel rooms. But as nonprofit, the agency also can generate private money through membership and board dues and participation fees.
An audit of the bureau last year by the clerk and comptroller’s office took issue with the CEO’s pay including a mix of public and private money. The audit found that the use of “private funds to increase county-approved compensation and benefits results in unapproved expenditures of county dollars.” The audit concluded that the bureau wouldn’t be able to generate private money if bed tax money didn’t pay for operations at the bureau.
Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock on Wednesday said she was concerned that the bureau planned to continue mixing private and public money and said the CEO’s entire compensation package should be vetted by the county commission. Use of private money to compensate the bureau’s CEO doesn’t require commission approval.
Those who defend the compensation package say the position’s pay is boosted largely by private money – and the amount of bed taxes used would be about the same McLaughlin would have received if he were still head of the bureau.
Supporters emphasized the bonuses would have to be earned.
County Commissioner Jeff Koons said the bonuses shouldn’t be handed out automatically, as in the past, but rather the new CEO’s performance should be evaluated and then a bonus given only if it’s deserved.
“These are not going to be gifts,” Koons said. “He’s going to have to earn it.”
Assad emphasized that if the board wasn’t happy with the new CEO’s performance, the contract could be terminated. McLaughlin wasn’t under contract.
“We are no longer willing to accept mediocrity,” Assad said. “He will be under a lot of pressure to perform.”