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Liz Benston

Pay Raise Urged for LVCVA Exec

1 September 2005

LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's compensation committee has recommended increasing the salary of Chief Executive Rossi Ralenkotter by 5 percent.

The three-person committee, which also recommended a $40,000 incentive bonus for Ralenkotter during a meeting Wednesday, will forward the proposed salary increase to the full LVCVA board of directors for consideration at its monthly meeting Sept. 13.

Including the bonus, Ralenkotter will make $276,250 per year.

The increase was based on Ralenkotter's performance over the past year as well as a survey of peers at other convention and tourism bureaus.

The LVCVA commissioned a compensation report by Performance Management Inc. of Stamford, Conn., which specializes in convention and visitors bureaus. The report found that chief executives from major convention and tourism bureaus nationwide earn an average of $225,000 per year. Including an incentive bonus of $54,000, the national average was $276,000.

Ralenkotter was hired last year at $225,000. With incentive pay, he earned about $235,000.

"I have been saying that the president position was woefully underpaid compared to other (convention and visitors bureaus), which is particularly significant because we have two functions," LVCVA Vice President of Human Resources Mark Olson said. The LVCVA operates a convention center and is also a destination marketing organization, whereas most other cities have organizations that do either one or the other, he said.

"There are people who are making over $300,000 who don't do both sides of the equation and clearly don't have near the number of rooms we're responsible for," Olson said.

The compensation committee first discussed Ralenkotter's raise at a June 28 meeting but that was postponed when the committee requested a more up-to-date salary study.