Report Blasts Pay of Ex-Chief of Smithsonian

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Even though his supposed fund-raising acumen was used to justify his ballooning salary, the chief executive of the Smithsonian Institution raised less private money for the museum complex last year than his predecessor did in 1999, an independent committee said in a scathing report issued today.

Salary and other compensation for the executive, Lawrence M. Small, whose formal title was Smithsonian secretary, soared from $536,000 in 2000 to $915,000 in 2006, the report said. But ultimately, it added, the institution became more dependent on taxpayer funds and obtained less of its budget from private donations during his tenure.

Mr. Small resigned in March amid growing controversy over his lavish expense-account spending.

From 2000 to 2006, the report said, he also took 70 weeks of vacation — nearly 10 weeks a year — and spent 64 business days serving on corporate boards that paid him a total of $5.7 million.

Rather than rein him in, the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents stood by passively, the document said, and allowed him to spend the institution’s money profusely on personal expenses and treat the board as irrelevant to decision-making.

“It appears that the board reported to him rather than the secretary reporting to the board,” the report said. “The Committee was told by a regent that Mr. Small ‘did not listen to the opinions of the regents’ and “did not seek input from the regents.’ ”

The report was issued after a three-month investigation by the independent committee, which was appointed by the Smithsonian after concerns were raised about Mr. Small’s expenditures on personal items...

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