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Thread: APA budget

  1. #1

    APA budget

    Just curious, has anyone ever seen the national APA budget? It seems to be very not visible on the website.

    Considering membership funding for the APA ultimately comes from either taxpayer funds or planner's wallets, it seems like a little more light could be shed on the subject.

    The closest to full disclosure we seem to get is the APA's IRS latest filing:
    http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_...200809_990.pdf

    (additional filings available from
    http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990s...ch/esearch.php)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    That's it. I'm done with APA.

    W PAUL FARMER - Executive Director and CEO - Compensation - $313,500
    CHARLOTTE MCCASKILL - Chief Operating Officer - Compensation - $204,000
    What do they do to earn these salaries?
    Annoyingly insensitive

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    It is the same problem that most for-profits have. Over compensating leadership does not equal more qualified or competant leadership. I think top pay should be tied to planners salaries. The top 10% make $100k, okay you get that plus 50% or something along those lines.

    You make 5x what the people you represent make. Something is out of line there....
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I will stick up for these guys...but just this once.

    Do any you have ANY idea what it takes to run ANY organization the size of APA day to day? Not only do you have the headquarters staff, you have some 40-45 chapters spread out all over the country with tens of thousands of planners. The Executive Director has more in common with other executive directors of similar-sized professional organizations than he/she does with the rank/file dues-paying members. The Executive Director might be FAICP but runs the organization and really isn't your typical planner.

    At the recent state conference where I served on the executive board the APA President-Elect was one of the speakers. He is on a circuit visiting one state conference after another...after another. That's right, making speeches, working the room, meeting one planner after another after another. It is exhausting (AND he has to run the city planning department). How many of you could be able to do this? The APA President's job is also unpaid.

    Down at the state level, I probably put in 150-200 hours of my free time over 5 months to put together the conference (registering all of the CM credits AND creating an AICP workshop from scratch)!! This was on top of juggling two huge projects at work. Since I am a consultant the volunteer work was mostly on the evenings and weekends, so I was working or volunteering 7 days a week. I am not complaining, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the work. As PDO I also had to submit my budget requests for the next fiscal year, which included travel expenses to attend PDO events at the national conference next year in Boston. The budget was presented at the annual meeting during the state conference, and immediately there were complaints in the banquet hall from unknowledgeable planners that it was unfair that chapter dues would pay for the PDOs travel expenses. What they didn't know was that a fraction of the PDO's travel budget was coming from some of the revenue generated from the AICP workshop that I created, which had a very high turnout. It still took me several emails and a cost/revenue analysis to convince the chapter president to disburse the funds. Fortunately, the budget was approved.

    Honestly, the PDO position like the chaper presidents, division presidents, AICP commissioners, etc, is a very thankless job in the planning profession. There is a LOT of behind-the-scenes headaches that many of you guys DON'T encounter. Except for a handful of people such as Farmer and a few others, the majority of us are volunteers who put in INCREDIBLE amounts of our free time and it often goes unnoticed by our colleagues. Again, this is not a complaint so much as the reality of volunteer work. So if there is a little perk for us higher-up volunteers like a plane ticket or a conference paid for, or a larger salary for the executive director, I think we have earned it!
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I will stick up for these guys...but just this once.

    Do any you have ANY idea what it takes to run ANY organization the size of APA day to day? Not only do you have the headquarters staff, you have some 40-45 chapters spread out all over the country with tens of thousands of planners. The Executive Director has more in common with other executive directors of similar-sized professional organizations than he/she does with the rank/file dues-paying members. The Executive Director might be FAICP but runs the organization and really isn't your typical planner.

    At the recent state conference where I served on the executive board the APA President-Elect was one of the speakers. He is on a circuit visiting one state conference after another...after another. That's right, making speeches, working the room, meeting one planner after another after another. It is exhausting (AND he has to run the city planning department). How many of you could be able to do this? The APA President's job is also unpaid.
    Thank you for all your efforts.

    The topic is the perceived value of the APA service in toto vs CEO salary.

    Really in my view all you are paying for is the privilege of saying you are affiliated with the professional organization. Oh, and a minuscule discount on overpriced educational material.

    /grumpy

  6. #6
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I will stick up for these guys...but just this once.

    Do any you have ANY idea what it takes to run ANY organization the size of APA day to day? Not only do you have the headquarters staff, you have some 40-45 chapters spread out all over the country with tens of thousands of planners. The Executive Director has more in common with other executive directors of similar-sized professional organizations than he/she does with the rank/file dues-paying members. The Executive Director might be FAICP but runs the organization and really isn't your typical planner.

    At the recent state conference where I served on the executive board the APA President-Elect was one of the speakers. He is on a circuit visiting one state conference after another...after another. That's right, making speeches, working the room, meeting one planner after another after another. It is exhausting (AND he has to run the city planning department). How many of you could be able to do this? The APA President's job is also unpaid.

    Down at the state level, I probably put in 150-200 hours of my free time over 5 months to put together the conference (registering all of the CM credits AND creating an AICP workshop from scratch)!! This was on top of juggling two huge projects at work. Since I am a consultant the volunteer work was mostly on the evenings and weekends, so I was working or volunteering 7 days a week. I am not complaining, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the work. As PDO I also had to submit my budget requests for the next fiscal year, which included travel expenses to attend PDO events at the national conference next year in Boston. The budget was presented at the annual meeting during the state conference, and immediately there were complaints in the banquet hall from unknowledgeable planners that it was unfair that chapter dues would pay for the PDOs travel expenses. What they didn't know was that a fraction of the PDO's travel budget was coming from some of the revenue generated from the AICP workshop that I created, which had a very high turnout. It still took me several emails and a cost/revenue analysis to convince the chapter president to disburse the funds. Fortunately, the budget was approved.

    Honestly, the PDO position like the chaper presidents, division presidents, AICP commissioners, etc, is a very thankless job in the planning profession. There is a LOT of behind-the-scenes headaches that many of you guys DON'T encounter. Except for a handful of people such as Farmer and a few others, the majority of us are volunteers who put in INCREDIBLE amounts of our free time and it often goes unnoticed by our colleagues. Again, this is not a complaint so much as the reality of volunteer work. So if there is a little perk for us higher-up volunteers like a plane ticket or a conference paid for, or a larger salary for the executive director, I think we have earned it!
    I completely disagree with you. I think you make your point for me. APA is broken down into chapters. These chapters are led by presidents who aren't paid. They get free trips to two conferences a year and the leadership meetings. Just like division heads. Although these positions are "volunteer" many of them are government employees who are getting paid for their service as well as getting the trip comp'ed by APA. If they work in the private sector they are doing it because they want exposure. It isn't exactly like this is some HUGE sacrifice, where they get no benefit. If this was the case they wouldn't be doing it. It is great that these people do this, but if they didn't, I promise you someone else would. There is no need for them to be paid.

    As for the executive director, he does more day to day in terms of being a politician for APA. He meets with mayors, politicians, etc. He is the figure head. He shouldn't be paid nearly what he gets. If you represent a field that is having a hard time putting its members to work, getting paid $300k a year, when there is probably not one planner in the US that makes that, is wrong.

    You are looking at if from the perspective of you doing all this work and not getting paid. That is what a volunteer is. If you wanted to get paid, don't do the work. I am sorry but I don't feel sorry for volunteers. You know what you are getting into. I did this for 3 years. I enjoyed the people, but that doesn't mean that I thought anyone should get paid to do it. I was a volunteer. That is what you sign up for. APA does very little to move policy forward for planners, and does even less to move our profession forward. I think AICP is trying, but has done very little to make it worth much. If they wanted to make it a better organization, they would stop trying to be a big tent, and focus on making it a strong organization for the planning profession.

    If you have to pay someone $300k a year to run APA, obviously you are doing something wrong. I guarantee you could get a better, more competent leader for much less. I don't know, maybe a retired or out of work planner?
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    You are looking at if from the perspective of you doing all this work and not getting paid. That is what a volunteer is. If you wanted to get paid, don't do the work. I am sorry but I don't feel sorry for volunteers. You know what you are getting into. I did this for 3 years. I enjoyed the people, but that doesn't mean that I thought anyone should get paid to do it. I was a volunteer. That is what you sign up for. APA does very little to move policy forward for planners, and does even less to move our profession forward. I think AICP is trying, but has done very little to make it worth much. If they wanted to make it a better organization, they would stop trying to be a big tent, and focus on making it a strong organization for the planning profession.

    I didn't apply for the APA position because of fancy vacations or getting paid. I applied because (1) I have volunteered for years at the committee level in a different chapter and I wanted to move to the next step (2) I felt it was my calling to help the chapter with professional development goals, and (3) to indirectly promote my firm's services.

    I have never demanded any sort of payment for any sort of volunteer work. I can make recommendations that are ultimately determined by the chapter. In my case, the budget was proposed to the chapter, we had a few comments regarding the travel budget, and we took a show of hands: there were mostly yeighs, and no neighs (although there might have been a few abstentions). The chapter could just as easily voted against my travel budget, and I was prepared for that, too.

    Hopefully that clears things up. Out of curiosity, Hink, what types of volunteer did you do over the 3 years?
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  8. #8
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Hopefully that clears things up. Out of curiosity, Hink, what types of volunteer did you do over the 3 years?
    PM if you want to talk about specifics. I understand where you are coming from, I just don't agree that APA is doing enough for the planning profession to warrant such pay for leadership. Nothing against your personal experiences.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  9. #9
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    My biggest complaint is that often times CM credits are not posted until well after the event. This makes it much harder to select seminars. My agency offers free CM credits for members. We do this as a service for our members. Often times I am unaware of these being offered some 20 feet from my cubicle until after the fact.

    The salary does seem high to me, but most Chicago salaries seem high to me. I have no idea what it takes to be the director of an agency like that one. The director of my agency makes half that and has to coordinate with three times the number of units.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    The executive director of any NATIONAL association is not the same role as a planning director for a community. The executive officer of the AMA might be a physician, but he/she is not running a private practice.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  11. #11
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    The executive director of any NATIONAL association is not the same role as a planning director for a community. The executive officer of the AMA might be a physician, but he/she is not running a private practice.
    No, is the executive officer of the AMA getting paid 5x what a physician makes? Nope. They are probably getting paid roughly the same. Just because you are the CEO or an exec, doesn't mean that you deserve a huge paycheck. I have always thought this was odd. Especially with the argument that if you don't pay that, you will lose the person. Who cares? Someone will do the job, and will do it well.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    The executive director of any NATIONAL association is not the same role as a planning director for a community. The executive officer of the AMA might be a physician, but he/she is not running a private practice.
    Was that directed at my comment?

    I don't work for a community. I work for a consortium of about 300 governmental units including Cities, School Districts, Counties, State Departments and Federal Agencies. We represent about 5 million people in total. If you include the areas we have to coordinate with, this jumps up to about 7 million in two states and two countries. It is safe to say at best this is one of the most disfunctional areas of the country, economically, ethnically and politically.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    I think it all depends on how much they do to earn their keep. $300,000 a year is a fair salary for the CEO of a major not-for-profit organization or trade association, but those guys are paid the big bucks because they bring in a lot of cash from grants and donations for cool programs. Now, APA does do some pretty nifty programs.. but how is it funding those programs? So.. if Mr. Farmer brings in $10,000,000 a year in grants an' stuff, then he's more than earned his $300,000. If, on the other hand, he just sits back and collects our membership dues, then I have serious issues with his salary.

    OK.. so let's look at those numbers:

    In fiscal 2009, APA made total revenue of $18,231,352, down from $20,262,803 from the previous year. APA doesn't seem to do fund accounting so it's hard to tell what the exact amount from grants and contracts is, but a good guess is to add up the figures from Contracts & Research ($714,382) and Other Income ($383,120). I know they did get some sizable grants for PTS and career services, so let's give them (generously) credit for 50% of $814,833 and $506,452 respectively. Soooooo. The very best number possible is about $1.7 milion. I would say rather unequivocally that Mr. Farmer has not earned his $313,000 on this basis.

    OK? So what of membership? APA claimed approximately 44,000 members at the end of 2006 per disclosure. According to the website, APA currently has 38,279 listed members (although this might be understating it a bit, I believe I read somewhere they now claim 41,000 members). Once again, Mr. Farmer does not appear to have earned his salary, as he seems to have lost 10% of the membership.

    Sorry Mr. Farmer. Oh, and Mr. Farmer, please confirm that you took a pay cut from 2008 and 2009, because according to your financials, the association's total income declined by about 10%, and your membership also declined. Can't blame the recession, because both years were recession years.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 23 Nov 2010 at 9:04 PM.

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