Inky Bigwigs Shamed Into Giving Back Big Raises

Via Newspaper Guild memo:

Andrew C. Kassner, an attorney representing Citizens Bank, called “unconscionable” the raises to Brian Tierney, CEO of bag_of_money_1_1.jpgPhiladelphia Media Holdings and Inquirer publisher, Richard Thayer, the Company’s chief financial officer, and Mark Frisby, a senior vice president in charge of production and labor issues and publisher of the Daily News. Kassner said lenders found out about the raises – which boosted Tierney’s annual salary to $850,000 and Thayer’s and Frisby’s to $475,000 — a short time before the Company filed for bankruptcy protection. The Company had rejected lenders’ requests to give up the raises, Kassner said. It was only after the Company made the raises public in bankruptcy filings — and they were widely reported yesterday and today in local and national media — that the executives agreed to have their salaries rolled back to pre-raise levels. Kassner credited “the court of public opinion” for that decision.

PREVIOUSLY ON PHAWKER: ITEM # 12 on pages 6-7 of the Chapter 11 filing (SEE PDF, ABOVE)  indicates that Brian Tierney paid himself $600,000 annually as CEO beginning in June of 2006. When the Publisher resigned in August of 2006, Tierney took on all of his job responsibilities — overseeing the day to day running of both papers — and half of his salary, on top of his $600,000 CEO salary, for a grand total of $850,000 by December of 2008. It was in December of 2008 that roughly 30 Philadelphia Newspapers employees were given the axe to cut costs. What is the point of laying off 30 employees to cut costs in the same month you are giving yourself a quarter million dollar raise? Secondly, how do you justify paying yourself almost a million dollars a year when your papers only earn $37 million annually? Thirdly, why is Tierney giving himself a quarter million dollar raise as CEO/Publisher when both papers have performed so poorly as business entities under his leadership? Just wondering.

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