Monday, December 31, 2007

How High is the San Francisco
Zoo Director's Salary?
A lot higher than the wall for the tiger yard, that's for sure.
I didn't recall seeing any mention of Manual Mollinedo's annual pay as director of the San Francisco Zoo in any of the many stories about a tiger killing a teenage boy on Christmas Day and the animal fatally shot, so I decided today to read the zoo's latest IRS 990 tax filing to find out what he earned last year.
Mollinedo's compensation was $314,038, the zoo contributed $15,702 to his benefits plan, and he received $9,548 for expenses. (For an executive making way more than a quarter million, I think he could easily take care of whatever his work-related expenses were in 2006, but I digress.)
Total package for Mollinedo came to $339,288.
Nice pocket change, wouldn't you say? No other executive at the zoo comes near to that high level of pay. The closest salary to Mollinedo's is $145,762 and that's for the director of development. I'd sure like to hear an argument from the board of directors why the boss earn a lot more than double what anyone else earns at the zoo.
For what the zoo is paying its chief, I think the city of San Francisco should have someone in charge of the zoo who will make damn sure the animals are well cared for, can't escape captivity, and that high walls to contain tigers are in place.
Even if the tragedy of last week had not occurred, I'd still say the zoo chief's salary is excessive and may be unjustified, because the non-profit zoo's revenue for 2006 was nearly $22.4 million and it seems way out of line for a non-profit group with that sized budget to pay the head honcho more than a quarter million dollars.

Read the zoo's latest IRS 990 here.


Jeff said...

I won't defend Mollinedo's salary because I believe he should be terminated with cause for mismanagement of the zoo. Having said that, I do know a little about salaries for executives of non-profits.

The factors that primarily influence executive director salaries are peer group comparatives, size of the organization, and performance.

Peer groups are determined by gender (yeah it's unfair but women directors make less than men as a whole), number and type of advanced degrees, and region.

Salaries are then banded based on the personnel size of the organization that is managed and the annual revenues.

I could not say whether Mollinedo's salary is "market" because I'm not privy to the due diligence that the Board of Directors performed, but they could be opening themselves to legal problems if they are unable to justify the salary they contracted Mollinedo for.

In the for-profit world salary levels are at the sole discretion of management and the Board, but in the non-profit sector the legal duties are substantially higher and it is an obligation of the Board to manage salaries to market comps as opposed to what the candidate negotiates.

Freddy Hill said...

how much do the directors of the San Diego and Bronx zoos make? I'm sure you could find out using the same approach. Then we could make up our minds about wether there is something to this or maybe I want to be a zookeeper in my next life.

Sarah said...

What Jeff said. I've met directors of non-profits that donate huge (well, they seem huge to me, in the sense of "more than I've ever made in a year") donations back to their own charities, and they usually bring up something about how much everyone else in the organization makes (or rather doesn't make.) Admittedly I've always worked with very small charitable organizations, and none were as complicated or liability-prone as a zoo.

paul a'barge said...

Good for you.

I almost never agree with your political philosophy but when I do read your stuff, you're always straightforward and honest and you do yeoman's work.

You're no blowhard and you bring great value to the community.

Happy New Year

Kylie's Mom said...

Manuel Mollinedo is worth every penny of his salary. Working 24/7 does not come cheap (nor should it). He has done a fantastic job during the most difficult times of the Zoo's history.

In the 70 years since the tiger exhibit has been used no other animal has ever escaped until this tiger was provoked to defend herself with tragic consequences.