HUD Sets Permanent Cap on PHA Executive Salaries
On June 5, HUD announced that it's clamping down on excessive pay at public housing authorities, setting caps that extend and expand limits imposed by Congress. The action comes as HUD revealed that the top official at the Atlanta housing agency received a compensation package of $644,214, the highest in the country.
According to data from a national compensation survey conducted by HUD, Atlanta Housing Authority President and Chief Executive Renee Glover and top executives at housing authorities in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chelsea, Mass., received excessive salaries in 2010. The Los Angeles' housing authority paid its executive director $606,320 in 2010, while executive directors at the Philadelphia Housing Authority and Chelsea Housing Authority earned $417,688 and $357,635 respectively. These compensation packages included salaries, bonuses, and other benefits.
In response, HUD announced a $155,500 cap on top executive salaries at larger PHAs for the 2012 fiscal year. The recently announced plan would make the limits permanent and apply them to all forms of compensation paid for with federal money.
These highly compensated officials highlighted in the report appeared to be outliers. The national survey of 2010 salaries found that most local public housing officials were compensated in amounts at or under the new limit. The median compensation for the 449 top officials at agencies with 1,250 HUD units or more was $115,615. This data included salaries and bonuses but excluded other benefits.
Since the survey, the Los Angeles housing agency has lowered its top compensation to $260,000 and the Philadelphia agency has set its top compensation at $225,000. Chelsea, Mass., a suburb of Boston with a population of about 35,000, has lowered its top compensation to $135,000.
While the top limit planned by the Obama administration would be $155,500 for agencies managing more than 1,250 public housing units, HUD set lower limits for smaller public housing agencies. Housing authorities with between 250 and 1,250 units could pay a maximum of $125,926, and agencies handling fewer than 250 units could pay no more than $88,349.