VisitPittsburgh: Study shows salaries not out of line

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VisitPittsburgh says an outside review it paid for shows executive salaries at the nonprofit tourist agency are in line with industry standards.

The agency today released a two-page summary of a report by Downtown consulting firm Cowden Associates that reviewed salaries. CEO Craig T. Davis said the agency does the review every three years, but this year it is releasing the results after criticism of salaries by state Sen. Jim Ferlo, D- highland Park, and Allegheny County Councilman Matt Drozd, who in May said the organization's executives are overpaid and answer to no one.

The study showed VisitPittsburgh's total compensation sits right in the middle of its peer group, which included a mix of nonprofit and for-profit tourism agencies.

Base salaries are actually a bit lower than average, and only four long-standing employees are being paid dramatically more than their peers. The assessment also lauded the agency's internal pay-for-performance program.

"It reaffirmed what I knew to be true," said Mr. Davis. "But all the attention that's been paid shows we have much work to do."

The tourism agency is largely funded by Allegheny County's hotel tax.

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