The Housing and Urban Development Department is asking public housing authorities for more detailed salary data.
The department wants a more comprehensive picture of how PHAs pay their executive directors, including a breakdown of base salary, bonus and incentive compensation and which payments are made with federal funds, according to a notice in Friday’s Federal Register.
HUD will accept comments on the notice through March 26.
After reports surfaced in 2011 of excessive compensation at some PHAs across the country, Congress imposed a $155,500 salary cap for fiscal 2012 on the amount of federal funds that can be used to pay PHA executives. HUD has decided to extend that cap and close a legislative loophole so that total cash compensation, not just base salary, falls under it. “We will take executive action to put this cap in place in fiscal year 2013 under our own regulations if necessary,” the department said at the time.
The department collected 2010 salary data last August from public housing authorities across the country, and will collect 2012 data. HUD did not gather 2011 salary information because the cap didn’t take effect until 2012, said department spokeswoman Donna White.
The 2010 data, which reflects total cash compensation including bonuses, showed that 97 percent of PHA executives earned less than $155,500. The average cash compensation of a housing authority executive director was $82,299 in 2010. HUD acknowledged, however, the data also showed “outlier PHAs that pay certain employees a level of compensation that is clearly excessive.”
The executive directors of the public housing authorities in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chelsea, Mass., and Daytona Beach, Fla., were the top five highest earners in 2010, according to HUD’s survey.