The Maine State Housing Authority (MaineHousing) today released the names and salaries of its employees in response to a revised Freedom of Access Act request from the Maine Heritage Policy Center submitted last week.
The list of salaries for last year is posted on MaineHousing’s website, www.mainehousing.org, and is presented showing job titles instead of employees’ names.
“It’s important for the public to see what we pay for positions in our organization. We also strongly believe our employees have a right to privacy,” said Dale McCormick, executive director of MaineHousing. “We balanced these two goals by listing job titles rather than staff names along with their respective salaries on our website.”
In 2010, MaineHousing employees were paid on average 15 percent less than the comparable statewide average. It has been a longstanding policy of MaineHousing that salaries stay at 6 percent or below the comparable statewide average. When years of experience only at MaineHousing are taken into account, MaineHousing salaries fall to 25.7 percent below the comparable market position with the same level of experience.
MaineHousing’s compensation system is based on merit, and the average number of years of service is 9.5 years. No state funds support MaineHousing personnel costs. Approximately one-third of the positions are covered by fees paid to MaineHousing from federal programs that it administers, and the remaining two-thirds are paid by resources generated from lending activities.
The lists include a chart to compare MaineHousing salaries with those earned by people in similar positions and within the same range of years of experience. MaineHousing put together this chart using Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC) compiled by the Maine Department of Labor. Maine businesses provide the labor department with detailed salary information for use in compiling the SOCs, and the SOCs are used by businesses as part of their normal course of business to compare and/or set wages.
“It is important that any analysis of MaineHousing’s compensation package be done accurately and fairly,” McCormick said. “Department of Labor statistics are the standard for these types of analyses and truly reflect Maine’s business environment, allowing for an apples-to-apples review of comparable jobs, wages and experience levels throughout Maine. MaineHousing’s 140 employees are a highly educated, extremely motivated and mission-driven group of people whose salaries reflect the skill sets and expertise levels of similarly employed individuals statewide.”
The Maine Heritage Policy Center’s FOAA request follows a review by a committee formed by the Maine State Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners in November 2010. Two board members chaired the committee that presented its findings at the board’s August meeting.
The committee analyzed salaries and labor department standard occupational classifications for 2009, the last year both complete sets of information were available at the time of the review. Among the committee’s findings:
- For 2009, MaineHousing salaries lag comparable private and public positions by 14 percent.
- As a percentage of payroll, benefits account for 29 percent of additional expense in each of the past two years. Benefits include health, dental, life, and short- and long-term disability insurances, long-term care and retirement. The committee determined the percentage was reasonable when compared to private sector benefit packages which range from 30 to 35 percent as a percentage of payroll.
“In summary, we find that MSHA’s total compensation (salaries and benefits) is below the total market for comparable positions,” the committee members wrote in their report to the Board of Commissioners.
In addition to its request for salary information, the Maine Heritage Policy Center has revised its FOAA request for general vendor information and vendor information for major projects, such as Section 8 Housing Choice voucher program and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. MaineHousing serves more than 90,000 people per year whose personal information is considered private and protected by law, and their personal information is on most vendor forms and would need to be blacked out. MaineHousing is working with MHPC representatives to provide them with the information they seek in a format that does not infringe on its clients’ rights to privacy.