Poynter cuts highest-paid employees' salaries by 5%

October 2, 2009

TO: Poynter Staff

FROM: [Poynter president] Karen B. Dunlap

RE: Fall Budget Goals

In September, I reported that the Trustees signed-off on our 2010 budget and said that we are committed to a balanced budget next year of $7.5 million. Income will include $4 million from Times Publishing and $3.5 million that we will generate. We will match income by reducing expenses to $7.5 million.

Currently, after much work, we expect to end the year with expenses of about $8.1 million. We need further reductions of over $500,000 by the end of next year to meet 2010 goals. If we take tough steps now, we have a better chance of avoiding serious disruption next year.

Here's the plan. Each step should save about $100,000.

1. Salary reduction of 5% on highest paid employees Senior executives bear the largest portion of the cuts both in dollars and in percent of salary. I have already contacted all who comprise this group.

2. Salary reduction of 4.5% on remainder of staff Decline in pay for both groups will go into effect October 18, 2009 and be seen in the November 4, 2009 payroll. Reductions will continue through 2010. The amount is equivalent to 12 unpaid days. With that in mind, the Institute will close one day each month beginning this fall. We will provide a schedule of closures at the next staff meeting. Most days off will be the Friday of Institute Week or adjoining a holiday. In addition, the building will be closed as planned during the last two weeks of the year. The goals are to give you time to rest during a stressful period and to reduce utility costs.

Other changes are effective in January 2010. Additional details will follow.

3. A 10% increase in the staff-paid portion of medical insurance.

4. Continuation of a 1% match on 403B accounts.

5. Continued savings from general operations and building use.

This is tough stuff on all of us, and we know that it is harder on some of us than others. We also share in so many setbacks around us, in the news business, other industries and on families and individuals.

And yet we press on. Thank you for the toughness and commitment that you have shown all year. I expect better days ahead. Let's talk next week.

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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