Exhibit Hall Authority employees getting raise
by Jon Gillooly
October 02, 2012 01:24 AM | 4101 views | 5 5 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
MARIETTA — The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority Board has approved a budget that grants 3 percent raises to its 133 employees, despite revenues being down and expenses flat.

The vote for the fiscal 2013 budget was 4-0 with Mayor Steve Tumlin, Bob Voyles and Jerry Nix absent.

“It was the right thing to do because we need to take care of our employees,” said Cobb Board of Commissioners Chairman Tim Lee, who serves as a board member. “They’re working hard, we’re hitting our budgets, and we’re keeping our expenses down in other areas that will enable us to do that.”

The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Authority spokeswoman Karen Caro said operating revenues of $11.2 million are 8 percent lower than in 2012.

“This is due to the general economic conditions we are all facing,” Caro said.

Operating expenses, excluding depreciation and financing costs, are budgeted for 2013 at $10.1 million, which is flat from 2012.

The board has $12 million in reserves and will use $3.3 million of that for its 2013 operations, Caro said.

Michele Swann, the Authority’s CEO, receives a base salary of $170,559 and benefits including 25 paid vacation days, up to 120 hours of sick-pay accrual and 10 paid holidays annually.

Caro says Swann’s contract also allows for a bonus of up to 25 percent of her base salary, which would be $42,639.

“The Authority usually reviews this annually, but there is not a set date,” she said.

Lee could not say whether Swann will get the bonus this year.

“When it’s brought forth by the chairman to review, we’ll review it and act accordingly,” he said.

The Authority’s board governs the Cobb Galleria Centre, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and Galleria Specialty Shops.

Its operations are primarily funded through space rental, catering and concession sales, building services charges, ticket sales and sponsorships.

Debt service and contractual payments of the Galleria Centre are paid with a portion of the hotel/motel tax collected by Cobb and its cities.

The most recent audit, dated Sept. 30, 2011, showed nearly $70 million is still owed on the Galleria Centre’s bond.

Debt service for the Performing Arts Centre is primarily financed through an intergovernmental contract with Cobb County. That debt stood just below $60 million as of the 2011 audit.

The Authority intends to replace the roof on the exhibit hall and renovate its concourse and meeting rooms over the coming year. The roof is estimated to cost $850,000 and the renovations are projected at $700,000.
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Jake Johansen
October 05, 2012
I'm sure that the police and fireman agree that if anyone was going to get a raise it should be the exhibit hall. I mean, they are a vital part of our government. Unbelievable.
Short Changed
October 02, 2012
Why don't you show the Cobb County employees that you can do the right thing and give us raises? Instead of wasting and spending tax payers dollars on things you don't need, give back to the employees.
Cobb employee
October 02, 2012
So Tim Lee said:

“It was the right thing to do because we need to take care of our employees,”

Why won't Tim give his own Cobb County Employees a raise? FIVE YEARS without a raise. Tim don't care.
Pat H
October 02, 2012
No, Comrade Lee, you do not take care of your employees. We, the taxpayers, take care of OUR employees.

Unfortunately, a few voters chose you to make the decisions, but I cannot understand why.
October 02, 2012
I see Tumlin was nonexistent for the vote. Afraid that these people were getting a better pay raise than City of Marietta employees. Given cost of living went up over 3% it wasn’t a raise but better than the one the City employees received. It is time for the local governments to come up with a pay system for its employees not just a pay scale.

If the tax payers do not desire the services then they should voice their opinion and have them reduced, but maintaining the same level of service off of the backs of the employees is wearing thin across the board.

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