About a year ago, at the old Washington Blade, longtime reporter Lou Chibbaro presented the community with a gift of a story. It was a salary survey of our gay and AIDS orgs' executive directors. Thanks to the truly fabulous HIV site Aegis, that survey is still available online for folks to read.
Lou noted that according to the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese "took a voluntary pay cut of 10 percent, lowering his total compensation from $338,400 to $302,200, according to HRC," for 2009. Nice of him to sacrifice a small amount for the good of the movement.
When HRC released its most recent IRS 990 filing on August 14, HRC estimate for his pay was adjusted slightly, up to $307, 050.
What is of equally keen interest is this explanation that sheds a healthy ray of sunshine into the professional life of our Dear Leader, on page 29:
"HRC provided first class air travel on occasions for President Joe Solmonese, as permitted by policy adopted by the HRC Board. The president's schedulue often requires last minute changes in travel plans, and therefore fully refundable tickets are frequently used. First class tickets were occasionally purchased in situations in which fully refundable coach tickets were comparably priced to first class tickets."
Gosh, it must be so difficult, having to make travel plans to be in LA walking the red carpet for an HRC "L Word" party, instead of trying to influence the New Hampshire primary:
Or getting to the Sundance film-apalooza to schmooze with indie, creative types:
Or appearing at the HRC dinner in New York City and doing a great impersonation of a wax figure:
Or schlepping back to Washington and getting pimped up for a society photo-shoot:
Snark aside, I would not give a fig if Solmonese always traveled in first class and even made half a million in annual pay, if I thought he were genuinely working round-the-clock to advance federal equality for gays and that his leadership of the community, and stewardship of HRC's budget, was accomplishing clear-cut results.
But he and his org are the biggest leeches to affix themselves to the gay community's hide, and they ain't about to give up their lucrative salaries and benefits and really deliver federal changes for the rest of us.
The HRC's IRS 990 report, on page 7, shares this info on what other executives at the org made last year:
A solid $2.1 million to pay just 14 leaders at HRC, and the average for those salaries comes to $156,000. What do we get in return for paying these leaders such good compensation, to work on our equality and federal issues?
HRC's Dear Leader and his minions gave us another in a long line of minor female celebrities brought to DC to appear in a photo-op promoting their equal logo, and the comics use gays to generate interest in their careers or latest entertainment product.
It's insulting that 17 long years after Bill Clinton created the Don't Ask/Don't Tell ban on gays in the military, and hundred and hundreds of gay dollars wasted through HRC since then, we get to this pivotal moment to potentially overturn the ban, and the best HRC can do is give us a straight chick looking for laughs.
The longer HRC exists and maintains its reputation as the Worst.Human.Rights.Organization.Ever., the longer the joke is at our collective expense.