February 20, 2011; Source: New York Post | The heads of public-private groups that help with the maintenance of New York City's parks have done a good job tending to their salaries in recent years. A New York Post examination of pay shows that many park group directors have "raked in the green."
Among the findings: according to 2009-2010 tax filings, the salary for Douglas Blonsky, who heads the Central Park Conservancy, jumped 20 percent to $433,900. Even though Madison Square Park Conservancy saw its revenues dip by more than $245,000 in 2009, Debbie Landau, took home $200,000, after receiving a $15,000 raise and $35,000 bonus.
Another who did well in 2009, a year in which lots of pruning was going on, was Aimee Boden, who received a 6 percent raise, pushing her salary to $176,200 – of which $126,609 is paid by the city. Although pay for Daniel Biederman, Bryant Park Corp. director only rose $10,000 to $220,027, for the year ending June 2008, he also earned that same amount as head of the 34th Street Partnership, a business improvement district that, according to the group's website, is the park group's "sister organization."
These lush salaries stand out like a sore thumb, especially when the $433,900 paid to the head of the New York Central Park Conservancy is compared to the relatively modest $205,180 Adrian Benepe earns as New York's Park Commissioner. "Blonsky oversees 843 acres. Our parks commissioner oversees 29,000 acres. It doesn't make sense," said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.—Bruce Trachtenberg