After nearly 17 years at the helm, Dick Fleming is retiring from St. Louis' Regional Chamber and Growth Association
, a.k.a. RCGA.
The St. Louis Business Journal
has an interview with Fleming today on the topic. The RCGA president says that at the age of 65 he thinks its time to move on. He hopes to remain in St. Louis doing philanthropic work. The mission of RCGA, btw, is to "promote the St. Louis region."
I'll let others debate how good a job Fleming has done achieving that task. Being a relentless St. Louis booster can be a thankless job. The more illuminating factoid in today's Business Journal
story -- and the one I want to discuss -- is Fleming's compensation. As the paper reports, Fleming earned $603,000 in compensation in 2009 (the latest figures available) and an additional $196,000 in retirement payouts.
Wow. I found that number difficult to believe. I'd have guessed $250K. Maybe $300K. But $600,000!? So I, too, took at look at RCGA's tax filings.
In 2008, Fleming earned slightly less -- $560,000 -- but he also took home another $459,000 in a multi-year deferred retirement plan payout. (Gee, no wonder the guy wants to retire. He probably has his eye on a yacht!)
To be fair, though, it's (mostly) RCGA's money to spend. In 2008 the agency earned less than 10 percent of its $10-million in revenue from government grants. The rest came from elsewhere with corporate membership dues earning it nearly $4.2 million. And its those corporate members
-- many of whom head the city's largest companies
-- who approve Fleming's pay package.
Is it any wonder that those titans of industry would want to see their town's corporate cheerleader earn what they see as a reasonable salary?