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Kamehameha Schools CEO sees salary dip

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Despite a $436 million increase in net assets, Kamehameha Schools’ top executive’s salary fell by nearly $17,000, or 3.1 percent, in the fiscal year ended June 30.

Dee Jay Mailer, chief executive officer of the state’s largest private landowner and charitable trust, received total compensation of $531,998 last fiscal year, compared with $548,885 the previous year, while net assets from financial investments and returns on real estate holdings for the trust rose 7.9 percent to $5.9 billion from $5.5 billion, according to docu­ments filed Friday with the Internal Revenue Service.

Executives across the nonprofit sector have taken pay cuts in recent years as the industry seeks to recover from the lingering affects of the recession.

"Throughout most of the nonprofit sector, the recession has not ended," said Hugh Jones, supervising deputy attorney general of the Department of the Attorney General, Tax Division. "Kamehameha Schools is extremely unique in that it’s an endowed charity, whereas most of the charitable sector has to rely on donations and grants from federal and state agencies and they’re still in a period of very tight, lean times."

Mailer’s lower compensation is the result of a 5 percent reduction in the base pay for Kamehameha’s executive management team for the fiscal year prior to the economic recovery, said Kekoa Paulsen, Kamehameha spokesman. Total compensation went up for some due to reimbursements and benefits.

"Compensation is not tied to performance of the trust investments in the same fiscal year," he said. "There’s that lag when budgets are set and when the recovery started."

Future compensation may be determined by last year’s investment performance, he said.

The trustees’ pay is set by a court-appointed committee, one of the reforms that came out of a Bishop Estate controversy that changed how the trustees’ compensation is set. Executive compensation is established by the trustees.

Nationally, CEOs of nonprofit hospitals, universities and foundations with similar-size assets earned about $650,000 in total compensation, including benefits and reimbursements, in 2010, according to ERI Economic Research Institute in Wash­­ing­ton, D.C., which researches nonprofit and for-profit salaries for the nation’s largest companies. There are no other elementary and secondary schools with comparable assets in the nation, said Linda Lampkin, ERI research director.

"Most schools would pay a lot lower, but of course they don’t have the responsibility of managing the asset base," she said. "This is certainly not an outrageous salary. It’s well within the range that one would expect."

Kirk Belsby, Kamehameha’s vice president of endowment and the second-highest-paid executive, earned $483,809 in total compensation, down 2.8 percent from the previous year. Christopher Pating, vice president of strategic planning, brought home $381,975, or 0.2 percent more than the year earlier. Elizabeth Hokada, director of financial assets, reported total compensation of $355,752, up 2.6 percent. Michael Loo, vice president of finance and administration and the fifth-highest-paid employee, saw his total compensation fall 1 percent to $312,103.

Trustee Nainoa Thompson brought home the highest pay for a board member at $106,050, down 7 percent from year before. Trustee Diane Plotts earned $98,850, up 1.4 percent, while Corbett Kalama and J. Douglas Ing both made $92,100, down 9.7 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Trustee Robert Kihune, who worked a partial year to fill out his five-year term, earned $72,300, a decrease of 25.8 percent. Micah Kane, who replaced Kihune, reported total compensation of $33,300.

Kamehameha educated about 45,400 children through its preschool and campus programs, and scholarships and community partnerships during the fiscal year.

The trust, created in 1884 by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, spent $299 million — $41.3 million, or 16 percent, higher than fiscal year 2009. That includes spending of $129 million on its campuses at Kapalama, Pukalani and Keaau, and $102 million on community education programs, $31 million of which supported Hawaii public schools.

"It’s commendable that the executive team at Kamehameha Schools have tightened their belts consistent with what the rest of nonprofit sector has had to do," Jones said.

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