Solmonese’s final salary-benefits package

In response to the story about the impending resignation of Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, a reader commented: “Always interesting to me is that NEVER is it mentioned what his pay package looked like.”

Solmonese never got on the phone with us. But HRC spokesman Michael Cole-Schwartz said Solmonese is earning $299,475 in salary and about $19,000 in benefits for the group’s current fiscal year. That’s a total package of $318,475 for the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, when Solmonese’s contract is up.

That total is about $20,000—in benefits—from what it was in 2009 when the Washington Blade did its survey of LGBT leaders’ salaries. Solmonese had the highest salary but only the second largest salary-benefits package. (The largest package was Food & Friends Executive Director Craig Shniderman at $382,200.)

Cole-Schwartz noted that Solmonese took a voluntary 10 percent cut in salary—from $299,475 in 2009 to $269,528—for the fiscal years 2010 and 2011. That, said Cole-Schwartz was in response to “the difficult economy and the imperative that HRC cut back expenses.”

Fred Sainz, another HRC spokesman, noted that Solmonese will  receive “no departing package.”

Solmonese, who has headed the organization since 2005, announced August 27 that he will not renew his contract next year, in order to explore “new professional possibilities.”

4 Responses to Solmonese’s final salary-benefits package

  1. Arouete says:

    Ah yes, the hardships of advocating for the underdog. … laboring “in the public interest.” This is why I’d rather hand my cash over to a hungry street person than a Gucci shoed ‘activist’ who spends most of his time at cocktail parties and fund raisers.

    We understand perfectly, a salary cut from from $299,475 in 2009 to $269,528 is a terrible hardship but its imperative the noble savages must suffer such burden in our the difficult economy.

  2. Gabrielle says:

    Sorry, but I’m just not seeing the controversy of him making 300k a year for what he did or for anyone in a similar position. These people put in a lot of time and effort in fighting for our civil rights. In comparison to some of the people he was up against a total benefit package (pay and benefits together) doesn’t add up to much. This isn’t the olden days when you could do an effective job lobbying, strategising, and advocating for civil rights while earning less money.

  3. LOrion says:

    It has been known for YEARS what Joe S made at/from HRC, if you were awake and paide attention. Wake up all you who drifted along with the ‘don’t rock the boat of us rich gay white males’ e.g. HRC. They have done nothing to advance your rights! You wasted a TON of money.

  4. Carraway says:

    The amount of the salary is less important than the person who’s earning it.

    For many years HRC has had odd standards about which politicians it supports and with how much money. It would support someone with a modest record on gay civil rights, but not someone slightly unfashionable who’d been way ahead of the curve on marriage equality — ahead of the curve before it was the liberal politician’s favorite cause. What factors determined who got what? Did you have to go the right cocktail parties? Will Mr. Griffin be more evenhanded than his predecessor? Can anyone who hired Ken Mehlman to raise money be considered evenhanded? I think anyone who hired Mehlman knows precisely on which side his bread is buttered. It’s buttered on the side where you find the people who keep him employed.

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