Monday, June 20, 2011

The business model of leadership

Reading Sunday's article on CEO pay among North Carolina's biggest companies, I couldn't help thinking about the search that's looming for a new leader of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Across the country, you hear a lot about the desirability of getting a superintendent with a background in private enterprise and/or a businesslike mindset. That's generally considered shorthand for a leader who's bold, responsible with money and not bogged down in bureaucracy and tradition.

But as the article reminded me, captains of industry expect to be well paid -- even when wages are stagnant and jobs are disappearing among the rank and file. My brain boggled looking at the list of seven- and eight-figure totals. The number that stuck with me: "Average total compensation for the CEOs was $93,992 a week."

Departing Superintendent Peter Gorman catches a lot of flak for his $267,000 salary, his $35,000 in extra retirement pay, his $250,000 "personal growth" grant from the Spangler Foundation and his potential 10 percent performance bonus. But next to this crew, Gorman looks like one of those guys holding a "Will Work For Food" sign.


Wiley Coyote said...

Apples and oranges.

My company has faced the same thing. Our President and Executive VP do very well, not to the extent of the ones you mentioned but they earn it.

They have to look at every line item and the system looking for ways to cut costs and be more efficient.

School systems drain tax dollars on pet projects like Bright Beginnings, waste money on the school lunch program and testing that doesn't warrant it.

So even in bad times, CEOs are expected to make the hard decisions to cut where they can to remain competitive, unlike our school system who asks for more tax dollars or the BOE who sloughs off their duties to another government body.

Larry said...

We all chase success but we secretly dislike those who achieve it before us.

The fact is what is fair? I have investments and make sure that I do not have to work, as I retired early due to my hard work. My employees were the beneficiaries as they were able to buy parts of my company and start companies of their own.

But to pay back our system, I will not take a salary while serving on the School Board and will encourage the other members to do the same.

We need to have people who are true volunteers for the Children and not limited to some agenda.

So while I would like to limit people to some price range in my mind, I also understand that we have competition and the fact that some people bring value that equates to instant and more return on our investments.

So like my other investments I am willing to pay for a good investment as well as getting rid of an investment as soon as it becomes a liability.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a financial expert and don't have a lot of business savvy but my M.B.A. spouse makes more money than Dr. Gorman without a PhD even in this so-called horrible economy. He's an overworked workaholic but wasn't Dr. Gorman? Who the heck with Dr. Gorman's credentials in addition to a family would put up with the crap he had to put up with for any length of time? And I publicly critiqued the guy as much as anyone over a school related issue.

Frankly, I'm getting sick and tired of the Observer and it's staff (you too Tommy Tomlinson) speculating what Dr. Gorman's salary will be in the private sector. Welcome back to civilization, Dr. Gorman, where what you make ain't nobody's dang business.

Where's the salary list of what everyone makes at the Observer - ya' know - since I actually pay for an outdated print subscription?

Bettywhite said...

Wiley actually has a job. You can't be working very hard because all you do is post on the CO's pages. You are ripping your boss off.

Wiley Coyote said...


I'm just that good!....

Yes, I have a job. A great job and I am very adept at multi-tasking.

Do you have a clue where I just spent the last 6 hours?

On a plane flying from the East coast to the West coast. That gives one A LOT of time to do work, post comments, etc.

Fortunately, I work for a company that is privately owned and very liberal in their management structure.

I can assure you I crank out more work than many people do each day.

Thank you for keeping tabs on me. Nice to know someone out there cares about what I do and when!

Anonymous said...

@Wiley C. I thought you would get a kick out of this. It is not completely relevant, but you seem to work school lunch programs into most of your arguments.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 11:13...

Now you know why I am adamant about this huge, wasteful black hole.

As long as politicians and educrats keep turning a blind eye to this problem, I will continue to rant about it.

What the USDA is getting ready to do is big government run amock.

"Community eligibility is a great way for schools to cut through burdensome red tape for themselves and low-income families so that children in high-poverty areas have access to the nutrition they need to learn and thrive," Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon said in a statement.

Cut through red tape? That's laughable.

They are going to use EXISTING FRL rolls to expand this big government handout program.

This is the ultimate definition of STUPIDITY.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth Wiley, I think you are on to something. I'm not sure why no one else seems to concerned. Apparently the USDA does not care about fraud and waste. I am learning first hand how things an be easily manipulated. Perhaps a "bottom line" administrator will come in and clean up the program locally. More than likely he/she will look at some of the direct, indirect, and ancillary funds the program generates and be fine with the status quo.
Btw, the over/under for all caps in your response was 1.5 I took the over. Thanks!

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 11:44

Here's another tidbit to chew on.

Currently, all FRL designated students not only get free or reduced lunches, they get to play sports for free, while people like me have to pay for my child and the same for AP/IB tests. They get those free as well.

When the USDA allows ALL kids in one school to get free lunch, regardless if they can afford to pay, does that mean the remaining students also get free sports and testing?

West Meck is 71% FRL. They would definitely qualify for the new "all kids get free lunches" scenario. That would have included my son but thankfully he graduated last week.

Is it fair for all kids at West Meck to get free lunches and other schools who may slip just below the cutoff?

The absurdity of this program is mind boggling.

To me, this thing should have a lawsuit written all over it.

Anonymous said...

And you haven't even touched on families who are here illegally, because as I understand it, we are not allowed to ask that question. If they qualify, which many do, they get it too. So where does all this money come from? Some people apparently think there is a huge money tree on the White House lawn.