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DIA rethinks compensation policy after criticisms of pay hikes

Oct 23, 2014

The DIA was left with egg on its face when news broke of double digit pay increases and $50,000 bonuses doled out to each of its top two executives in 2012, just as the DIA got voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties to say "yes" to a special millage to keep its doors open.

Two years ago, Graham Beal, whose compensation is over half a million dollars a year, got a 13% raise. Annmarie Erickson, the DIA's Chief Operating Officer, got a 36% raise.

Now it seems the firestorm of protest has pushed the DIA to re-think this whole "raise and bonus thing."

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes says the issue has to do with public perception and sensitivity to the Detroit bankruptcy. "When public money is involved, you lose some of the independence and the ability to set your own policies," says Howes.

DIA chairman Eugene Gargaro was in talks with the Oakland County Board of Commissioners on Thursday to assure the county that the museum, from now on, would consult with them about compensation on a periodic basis. 

"I don't think there's any question that the museum, at least in the near term, is going to try a little bit harder to be more sensitive and transparent, and find ways to make itself more integrated with the community," says Howes.

* Listen to our conversation with Daniel Howes above.