Today’s Albany Times-Union has a story about the employee and officer compensation being handed out at the New York State United Teachers under the headline, “NYSUT’s leaders get double-digit raises.” Comparing the union’s IRS Form 990s from 2009 and 2010, the newspaper reports:
NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi received a $44,808 raise, according to the most recent publicly filed tax returns from 2010. His base salary went to $240,180 from $195,372, a 23 percent increase. Iannuzzi’s total compensation, which includes health care, pension and other benefits, is listed at $345,987.
I suppose it’s possible that Iannuzzi’s salary actually increased $44,808 between 2009 and 2010, but union officer compensation is murky territory – deliberately so, in my view.
The compensation figures reported to the IRS are categorized in a number of different ways. For example, in 2008-09 Iannuzzi reported $195,732 in “base compensation,” $40,281 in “other compensation,” and $47,639 in “deferred compensation.” He also received $10,209 in “non-taxable benefits.” A year later, his base compensation jumped to $240,180, but his “other compensation” fell to $30,847. His deferred compensation jumped to $63,207 while his non-taxable benefits rose to $11,753.
As you might imagine, the IRS is mainly concerned with income tax, so it’s important to them to know what part of this compensation is non-taxable and deferred. There isn’t any way to tell what Iannuzzi’s “salary” is from these numbers and the result might be meaningless anyway. The NEA president, for example, gets a base salary set by the board of directors ($280,376 for 2011-12), but also receives a 20% allowance in lieu of benefits (as we learned last week, the NEA president continues to earn pension credit from his former teaching job) and another 20% earmarked for the costs of living in Washington, DC during his term in office.
In NYSUT’s case, we fortunately have a second source of officer compensation – the U.S. Department of Labor’s disclosure report, or LM-2. DOL categorizes compensation differently, breaking it down into “gross salary” and “disbursements for official business.” Here are Iannuzzi’s numbers for the last six years:
2004-05: $197,995 gross salary + $25,839 disbursements = $223,834 total
2005-06: $202,847 + $24,433 = $227,280
2006-07: $209,487 + $29,791 = $239,278
2007-08: $221,250 + $35,828 = $257,078
2008-09: $255,399 + $42,848 = $298,247
2009-10: $262,484 + $31,829 = $294,313
If we look just at gross salary, those are annual increases of 2.5%, 3.3%, 5.6%, 15.4%, and 2.8%.
This makes more sense to me. NYSUT compensation got fat during the fat years, and started returning to lower levels as the recession hit. However you look at it, it’s a good living, and likely to remain so for many, many years as that deferred compensation adds up.