Monday, November 8, 2010

Running AOPA is a pretty good gig

I work for a non-profit whose president is regular skewered for making too much money, so I bring a different perspective to the question of reasonable compensation for a president of an advocacy organization.

That said, 14.5% pay increases for AOPA's top executives, including more than $1.8 million for the horrendous Phil Boyer, before he mercifully retired, is stretching the bounds.

AVWEB has the story, but unfortunately buried new president Craig Fuller's salary deep into the story. It's about $500,000, which is a lot of money, but is not unreasonable for a CEO.

Still, it will be worth popping some popcorn and watching the AOPA membership reaction, given that annual dues were just raised to $45.

The salaries of Washington are simply too incomprehensible for "normal" (that is, outside of the Beltway) people. Yesterday, for example, I found out the very excellent airport manager at South St. Paul airport (KSGS) has been laid off by the city council, in order to "save" $40,000.

I doubt the City Council considered what's involved in running a small airport, including managing fuel sales and keeping tenants happy, especially on a field that houses both Wipaire and Ballistic Recovery Systems. They're going to divide up his duties among three city departments, none of whom -- as far as I know -- knows anything about running an airport.

Yesterday, I heard some old-timers grousing about the move. A week ago they were grousing about government getting too big and needing to cut taxes.

I doubt they've made the connection yet.


  1. In an effort to save money in 2011, I let my AOPA membership lapse this year. AOPA has hounded me through e-mail and snail mail more than any other single telemarketer has in the last several years. Even when I was a member, I got more mailings wanting me to join and pay for other services. Enough was enough. Just in mailings alone, they had to be eating heavily into my $35 membership fee...

    Contrasted with EAA, they sent me one notice to renew and that was it. They get my membership money and don't generally hound me for more money throughout the year (except during Airventure... That always seems to separate me from more money). Anyway, EAA got my renewal for 2011.

    Maybe if my salary was $1.8 million, I would have felt more charitable this year. As it stands, this will be the second year I have not received a pay raise in order to support my company's economic situation (non profit company). I have friends with MBA's working for minimum wage in order to support their company's economic situation.

  2. Fuller seems like a good guy and certainly has done well for himself over the years. But you missed the biggest perk of the AOPA leadership job -- unlimited access to the left seat of the organization's CJ3 (N4GA). Plus (I assume) the annual training at FlightSafety that enables one to fly it safely and be insured.

  3. Fuller sent a response to the AvWeb article today...

    Also, the $1.8m to Boyer was deferred compensation, not a yearly salary. No other details were given on that figure, but that's what it was.

    Interesting story...I haven't decided if I will renew for 2011 yet. Wouldn't be the first time I didn't renew!