HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commission, Rick Taylor, is actively lobbying for an increased base salary of $267k, which would be funded by taxpayers.
Emails obtained through public records request by On Your Side reveal Taylor is soliciting for a 12 percent gross compensation increase to bring his base salary to $267,012. That increase would go into effect this October.
In an email sent on 7/7/16 from Taylor to Convention Commission Board Member Bud Kirkpatrick, Taylor writes:
Taylor acknowledged in the email that his previous $30k bonus should be tied to "pre-stated" objectives and that their current practice may violate state law if it continues.
As On Your Side has reported, the Hattiesburg Tourism Board has previously awarded Taylor's 30k bonus based off of a gut-call rather then pre-stated objectives.
A $267k salary would be considerably higher then Taylor's counterpart on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In a 2015 interview, Bill Holmes, Executive Director of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center told On Your Side that his salary was $140k.
Holmes retired last August.
The next tourism commission board meeting is scheduled for August 24 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center.
In a statement released Wednesday night, Hattiesburg Convention Commission Chairman, Andy Stetelman said Taylor's current salary is "appropriate"
"We carefully work with our commissions to determine appropriate salary levels for our executive director," Stetelman said.
You can read Stetelman's full statement below.