CEO's Compensation Again In The Headlines In Oregon

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Credit union CEO compensation continues to get headlines here.

Just one week after it was learned that Portland Teachers CU CEO Cliff Dias was being paid $1.6 million annually, SELCO Credit Union has notified its members that its CEO was compensated some $1.15 million in 2003.

According to the credit union, CEO Ava Milosevich was paid $463,068 during 2003, plus another $1.5 million in funds contributed to her retirement account. The $547-million credit union serves 60,000 members and was originally chartered to serve the local education community.

Milosevich was unavailable for comment. The Credit Union Association of Oregon issued a statement saying it plays no role in CEO compensation.

SELCO disclosed the information in a letter to members after Milosevich and Chairman Dick Metzler met with reporters from the Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene, which had requested the credit union provide it with tax records. The Register-Guard earlier disclosed Dias' salary after obtaining similar tax records from Portland Teachers Credit Union. The newspaper further reported that concerns over Dias' salary by Oregon regulators scuttled a planned merger between PTCU and Oregon Community Credit Union. Officials with OCCU told The Credit Union Journal the salary was not the reason (CU Journal, Aug. 2).

Following the report of Milosevich's compensation, Metzler said he fielded a few calls from members that were both positive and negative. The Register-Guard quoted at least one member critical of the pay package, and further noted that Eugene School Superintendent George Russell, who is paid $116,802 annually, was further compensated with $20,000 paid into a state retirement fund and another $18,000 in contributions to a tax-deferred annuity.

The Register-Guard has been reviewing tax filings of state-chartered credit unions, which are available upon request, and said it found no other retirement package similar to Milosevich's. The newspaper said the largest contribution to a CEO's retirement plan among the other state-charters during 2003 was the $74,000 paid by Oregon Telco Community Credit Union of Portland into an account for CEO Patricia Smith.

Board Chairman Metzler was quoted by the Register-Guard as saying the board was seeking to improve Milosevich's retirement package after it suffered during the 1990s. As the CEO is approaching retirement age, Metzler said the board retained a compensation consultant who recommended Milosevich's pension account balance be brought up to about $2 million. It is to be fully funded by June 2005.

"I can't say it enough - we really are proud of our CEO," Metzler told the newspaper.

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