Detroit Institute of Arts Awards Executives Raises as Compensation for Turmoil

Detroit Institute of Arts.  COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The Detroit Institute of Arts.


The Detroit Institute of Arts has announced a $49,000-dollar salary raise for its executive vice president and COO, Annmarie Erickson; its vice president and CFO, Robert Bowen; and Graham Beal, who stepped down in June as its director, president, and CEO. The Detroit News reported the news.

The deal also includes forgiveness of Beal’s $155,832 home loan and a severance package of $285,000. The news follows DIA’s battle with the bankrupt city, whose emergency manager had floated the idea of selling off the museum’s collection to pay creditors.

According to the Associated Press, Board Chairman Gene Gargaro said, “With the bankruptcy, these three people had an inordinate amount of additional work to get us where we are today: testifying at the trial, working within the requirements of the court. It was a second job for all three of these people.”

The additional funds will come from Macomb, Wayne, and Oakland county property taxes, which are the museum’s central source of funding. The News reported that Oakland County Commissioner John Scott has drawn up a resolution opposing the compensation package, which he presented at a meeting of the Oakland County Art Authority today. The resolution calls for county representatives on the DIA governing board to vote against the compensation increases, which will be presented at the same meeting.

He wrote, “[the compensation package] is a violation of the spirit of shared sacrifice that has been the cornerstone of preserving the Detroit Institute of Arts throughout the millage election and the bankruptcy of the city of Detroit.”

Taxpayers will only be contributing to the three executive raises—$49,000 each—with the rest coming from private donations. Beal’s severance and housing loan will be paid out of a new compensation fund created by the DIA, according to The News.

Scott told the newspaper, “Every time I turn around, Beal wants more money. Five full baths in this house? I have one full bath. Gimme a break.”

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