February 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   EXPANSION AND LABOR AGREEMENT REMAIN ON THE SIDELINES
Philly Center Caught In Political CrossfireProblems persist at Philadelphia’s main venue.
Problems persist at Philadelphia’s main venue. It’s the worst of times for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where accusations of nepotism and partisanship are flying and the center’s expansion plan is being used as a bargaining chip.

Problems began last fall, when legislators in the state capital, Harrisburg, crafted a bill to expand the center’s board of directors from nine to 13, mandating that the four new members be from the suburbs and thus tipping the balance for control of the center away from the city. On Dec. 30, outgoing Gov. Mark Schweiker signed the bill into law.

Since then, a strident chorus of critics has formed, many of whom claim the law is a thinly veiled means of rewarding the Republican-dominated suburbs.

Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, a Democrat, is threatening to pull back on the city’s financial commitment to a planned center expansion; the city and state had agreed to split the project, which is estimated to cost $450 million. Street also filed a lawsuit against the state to challenge the legislation.

“The city is being asked to shoulder some burden of the expansion, but then we have to tell taxpayers we can’t control how money is being spent,” said a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

However, Tom Muldoon, president of the Philadelphia CVB, said the move to add board members ultimately might expedite approval of expansion funds, because Republicans will be the majority on both the board and in Harrisburg.

To add to the conflict, labor difficulties surrounding the project have worsened. Mayor Street had been leading negotiations between the center and the carpenters union, the last of six labor groups to agree to a new deal with the center.

Then, on Jan. 15, heads of the local teamsters and electricians unions backed out of the agreement, citing fears of waning labor support among the new Republican-dominated board.

Meanwhile, at press time, the center still had some top positions to fill, including board chairman and a CEO to replace Robert Butera, who left the facility last June.

“To suggest that a solution is imminent would be incorrect,” said David La Torre, former press secretary for Schweiker (who now heads the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce).

The Philadelphia venue expects to host 18 citywides this year, down from 27 in 2002. Its rebookings rate of 17 percent remains a hurdle for the bureau.


What Association Executives Earn The gender gap in earnings grows in relation to size of organization, according to a 2001 compensation survey. Male CEOs Female CEOs Trade association $136,775 $92,125 Individual membership association $139,241 $85,204 Total staff size: 2 or fewer $75,000 $60,000 3 to 5 $95,640 $77,000 6 to 10 $116,550 $108,000 11 to 20 $138,200 $126,000 21 to 50 $201,923 $159,280 51 to 100 $237,900 $145,518 More than 100 $287,600 $249,233 Total annual budget: $300,000 or less $67,600 $54,789 $300,001 to $500,000 $75,600 $68,579 $500,001 to $750,000 $90,000 $72,800 $750,001 to $1 million $102,000 $87,525 $1,000,001 to $2.5 million $118,800 $112,425 $2,500,001 to $5 million $170,000 $137,100 $5,000,001 to $10 million $227,750 $160,585 $10,000,001 to $15 million $225,994 $171,750 More than $15 million $285,000 $256,269 Source: American Society of Association Executives

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