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DIA controversy simmering: Should museum execs get raises, bonuses?

Aug 27, 2015

Part of Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry" murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Credit DIA

The Detroit Institute of Arts’ chairman says top museum officials — including the museum’s recently-departed director — deserve bonuses and other perks.

Eugene Gargaro made that case to the Oakland County Art Authority on Wednesday.

The compensation packages for three top executives, including recently-departed museum director Graham Beal, total over $625,000, according to The Detroit News.

They include a $285,000 retirement severance and forgiveness of a housing loan for Beal.

County officials and representatives from their various art authorities have some say in executive compensation now because the DIA gets taxpayer funds from a three-county millage that amounts to $23 million per year.

But Gargaro said that authority is extremely limited in this case, because most of the money for these boosts comes from private sources.

Oakland County Commissioner John Scott urged authority members to reject the plan. He thinks it “is a violation of the spirit of shared sacrifice that has been the cornerstone of preserving the Detroit Institute of Arts throughout the millage election and the bankruptcy of the city of Detroit.”

Scott introduced a resolution saying as much to the Oakland County Commission last night.

The Commission isn’t expected to take up the issue until next month, though, and the Board chairman says whatever ends up being voted on is likely just advisory.