In the wake of the closure of New York City OTB, more surprises. In a hard-to-understand reaction, New York Racing Association president Charles Hayward announced his board of directors, with the exception of Bennett Liebman, had approved three per cent salary increases for lower level executives and five per cent boosts for the top brass, including a reported raise from $460,000 to $473,800 for
Hayward said the raises were “long overdue,” the last coming three years ago.
Board member John Hendrickson, saying he had voted for the raises reluctantly, added, “You have to pay for talent.” Another director, Charles V. Wait, who was absent for the vote, said he approved the move because they should be made “irrespective of what’s going on with NYC OTB.”
The reaction of media was not as understanding. Its questions concerned timing, as well as prudence, and was blistering up and down the line.
The New York Post issued a blazing editorial, concluding, “NYRA has to cut costs if it wants to survive, not pump up its perks and pay. But hold on. Maybe it just doesn’t want to survive. Fine by us.”
The concern here is not with pay raises, which may be needed. It is how and why smart racing executives could, knowing what press and therefore public reaction would be, ignore the timing of the action.
(Harness Tracks of America)