1:00 PM EDT, October 11, 2010
The New York Public Library, like many libraries throughout the country, is so strapped for cash, they're cutting back services. But guess how much money the guy who runs the library earned last year?
"I would say $125,000," guessed one New Yorker.
"$250,000?," said another.
They're not even close. He makes more than $700,000 per year!
"For the head of the public library?" asked another shocked New Yorker.
INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero answered, "Correct."
"That's ridiculous," said the shocked New Yorker.
But it's true. His name is Paul LeClerc, and his total compensation is $744,000.
LeClerc recently appealed to the city council for more taxpayer money to avoid drastic cuts in services, stating, "The impact of a cut of this magnitude would be tremendous."
But his salary isn't being cut. A library spokeswoman says LeClerc is a hard worker and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars over 17 years. But he isn't the only library executive pulling in a monster salary. Five execs made more than $300,000. And 11 made more than $200,000.
You might be surprised to hear that the head of human resources, Priscilla Southon's compensation topped $650,000 in 2008, the year she retired. That includes severence and vacation. She now receives a $188,000 per year pension.
Tim Hoefer of the Empire Institute said, "If you're losing branch hours and they are closing one day a week or they are not having as much materials as they used to, and then you find out they are paying out these rediculous amounts of money, you're going to be an upset taxpayer."
So where does LeClare now live? On the avenue of avenues, 5th Avenue. That's where we caught up with him. He didn't want to answer any of our questions.
Taxpayers still find his salary hard to swallow. One taxpayer said, "It doesn't seem right that someone in that position is making that amount of money."
Another taxpayer asked, "Are they hiring?"
Although 75% of the library's funding comes from taxpayers, the library maintains that the executives, like Mr. LeClerc, are paid from private donations.