As Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools gears up its search for a new leader, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority is hiring its new chief this week.
Tom Murray, whose hiring will be voted on Wednesday, has been offered a $275,000 salary, an $8,000 car allowance and a yet-unspecified bonus opportunity starting in 2013.
The CMS board will negotiate a compensation package when it hires a superintendent this spring. Expect it to be in the $300,000 range, around what Peter Gorman was making when he left. And expect howls from struggling taxpayers, along with educators who make a fraction of that and have been without raises and bonuses for three years.
I'm not going to argue that the head educator should make more. But I was struck by the contrast in responsibility between the two similarly-paid public jobs.
"The CRVA, with a budget of $50 million and 200 employees, manages the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Bojangles' Coliseum, Ovens Auditorium and the Charlotte Convention Center," April Bethea and Steve Harrison report. "The authority also works on marketing and new business development programs."
CMS has a budget of over $1 billion and almost 18,000 employees. It oversees about 170 schools educating more than 140,000 kids, along with numerous other office and support buildings.
The school district's budget comes primarily from state, county and federal money. The CRVA's comes from taxes on hotel and motel rooms and a 1 percent tax on prepared food and drinks.