BTA releases three years of pay details
A massive salary of up to $320,000 plus an incentive bonus of up to 30 per cent made the chief sales and marketing officer at the island's tourism authority its highest-paid earner in 2016, new figures revealed yesterday.
The figures were announced as David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, gave the authority a Budget increase of $1 million to $26 million for the new financial year — but with strings attached.
Mr Burt told MPs as he unveiled the 2018-19 Budget statement: “It is the Government's view that the BTA can streamline its management to redirect more resources to the promotion of Bermuda overseas and the development of our local product.
“Through conditions attached to this year's grant, the Government will ensure that a greater percentage of the $26 million given to the BTA is spent on marketing and product development, not salaries and bonuses.”
Victoria Isley, head of the Bermuda Tourism Authority's sales drive, was listed as taking home a salary in the $310,000-$320,000 range,
She also was eligible for a bonus of between 25 and 30 per cent, in the range of $90,000 to $95,000.
Bill Hanbury, chief executive of the BTA at the time, earned between $290,000 and $300,000, bolstered by a 25 to 30 per cent bonus scheme worth between $85,000 and $90,000.
The figures, which cover top staff earners at the quango from 2014 to 2016, were posted on the BTA website after a Public Access to Information request.
The figures showed that Mr Hanbury was top earner in 2014 with a salary of $290,000 to $300,000 and a 25 to 30 per cent bonus scheme worth between $80,000 and $90,000.
The chief sales and marketing officer was paid between $270,000 and $280,000 with a discretionary extra of 25 to 30 per cent, although no bonus was recorded for that year.
The BTA was ordered at the start of this month by Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez to release more information about the salaries of its top officials.
Ms Gutierrez acted after ZBM News submitted a Pati request for salary and bonus details in July 2015, which was denied by the BTA, which argued that the request was an unjustified intrusion into personal information on employees.
But the Information Commissioner ruled that staff salary bands in increments of no more than $10,000, as well as the names of those who got discretionary bonuses, should be published.
Ms Gutierrez said that earlier salary band details released by the BTA, before Pati came into force, were “too wide”.
She added that the BTA should also reveal the names of employees who got “discretionary financial benefits” and the amounts involved.
Kevin Dallas, who took over as chief executive in January 2017, said yesterday: “Since its inception, the Bermuda Tourism Authority has provided more information to the public than is legislatively required and again this week has proven itself a leader in transparency by sharing more financial data that the Information Commissioner requested in her recent ruling.
He added: “The Bermuda Tourism Authority is a performance-driven organisation with a clear track record of positive results for the country.
“Each year, performance objectives are adjusted by the board of directors to set new priorities that are in the strategic best interest of Bermuda's tourism industry.
“Our team is meeting these challenges head-on.”
A spokesman added: “The $1 million budget increase will support common objectives between the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Government including new tourism marketing initiatives, expanded tourism entrepreneurship opportunities and workforce development.
“None of the increased budget will be used for salaries or performance incentives.”
The spokesman said: “The combination of more funding for frontline initiatives and a more efficient organisational structure will allow the BTA to further improve on an already industry-leading metric.
“The BTA spends about 20 per cent of its budget on payroll versus an industry norm of 33 per cent for similar-sized destination marketing organisations around the world.”
The Bermuda Tourism Authority has also released new financial data on its website.
The newly available documents include:
• Compensation information from 2016
• Compensation information from 2015
• Previously released staff compensation information from 2014 that has been refined at the request of the Information Commissioner.
Earlier this month, the Bermuda Tourism Authority acknowledged the Information Commissioner's ruling that the original 2015 Pati request would have resulted in an “unjustified intrusion into the personal information of employees at the BTA”.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority agreed to present the previously released data in a different way.
The refined 2014 compensation information was released online together with the information for 2015 and 2016. Additionally, now that the BTA's audited financial figures from 2016 have been tabled in Parliament, those documents were posted online as well.
Legislation governing the Bermuda Tourism Authority requires its audited figures to be tabled in the House of Assembly before they can be shared with the public.
In 2016 the Auditor-General gave the BTA its third consecutive unqualified audit.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority also releases corporate activity reports, details of vendor contracts and industry performance statistics online.
The last of these is released faster than was the case before 2014, putting data and analysis in the hands of tourism-related businesses and the Government sooner.
• To read the BTA financials, Pati request and pay details, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”