NEA Officers and Staff Salaries and Benefits. The Education Intelligence Agency periodically publishes details of the compensation paid to officers and staff of the National Education Association, and the numbers require some explanation, so bear with me if you have heard some of this before.


Because it has some members in the private sector, national NEA is required to file a Labor Organization Annual Report (Form LM-2) with the U.S. Department of Labor. Only a handful of state affiliates are also required to file the report, and Labor Department efforts to extend the requirement to all NEA state affiliate will now probably disappear under the Obama administration.


The filing requirements are very specific and useful, though the categories into which NEA revenue and expenditures are divided are often unnecessarily confusing. Because of this, both union supporters and opponents mischaracterize the sums that come directly from the report.


For example, the Labor Department includes travel expenses in its "total disbursements" to officers and employees. Though these are valuable statistics, by no means should travel expenses be considered income for the individuals involved. Conversely, NEA officers tend to emphasize their base salary on the rare occasions they discuss compensation, without accounting for any cash allowances they receive for housing or benefits, which is taxable income. Also, many NEA officers elect to defer a portion of the income earned during their terms in office, thereby reducing the total received in a given year.


Keep this information in mind as we walk through the numbers.


NEA national headquarters took in $337.7 million in dues and agency fees in 2007-08, the major portion of its total receipts of $358.8 million. The union's expenditures divide roughly into thirds: one-third is returned to state affiliates in the form of UniServ grants and other direct contributions and subsidies; one-third pays for buildings, maintenance, paper clips, software, and the assorted capital costs of operating a large membership organization; and one-third pays the salaries and benefits of NEA's employees, executives and retirees.


NEA's elected officials are not considered to be employees of the organization, though many are compensated for their time spent in office. Working from the top, the 2007-08 payments were as follows:


NEA President Reg Weaver, in his final year in office, received his annual salary, plus what is probably the entire amount of income he deferred from previous years, for a total of $483,868. He received an additional $70,656 in taxable allowances for a grand total of $554,524. The cash allowances for NEA's three executive officers are meant to compensate them for the cost of maintaining two homes, plus the fact that they do not receive retirement benefits from NEA during their union tenure (they do, however, continue to accrue retirement credits from the school districts in which they still ostensibly work, though in some cases that was decades ago).


NEA Vice President Dennis Van Roekel received a base salary of $265,212 and allowances of $53,885, for a total of $319,097. NEA Secretary-Treasurer Lily Eskelsen received a base salary of $248,349 and allowances of $54,285 for a total of $302,634.


The salaries of the members of the NEA Executive Committee are also included. Michael Billirakis of Ohio received $163,543, Mark Cebulski of Wisconsin received $140,895, Carolyn Crowder of Oklahoma received $112,539, Christy Levings of Kansas received $144,988, Paula Monroe of California received $120,111, and Marsha Smith of Maryland received $195,490.


Most members of the NEA board of directors receive no pay from the national union, though some received amounts ranging from the nominal to the significant, most of which were probably payments to school districts to reimburse them for substitutes hired while the director was released to perform union business.


The highest paid employee at NEA headquarters is Executive Director John Wilson, who received $296,930 in base salary in 2007-08.


The rest of NEA's $66 million payroll covers the 600+ people who collected wages from NEA national headquarters during 2007-08. The Labor Department's list includes everyone who received a paycheck from NEA during that fiscal year. However, it is clear that the average full-time wage for all workers at NEA headquarters is well into six figures.


NEA also paid out more than $46.1 million last year in benefits to its employees and retirees. These payments include pensions and retiree health care, so dividing these costs among current workers would not be the most accurate accounting.


NEA also has a program for smaller state affiliates that probably would have some difficulty paying the going salary for an executive director with only state dues money. These state affiliate executive directors are technically NEA employees but receive their direction from the elected representatives of the state affiliates. They include:


Lydia Garcia-Dougherty (NEA Alaska) - $141,532


John Yrchik (Connecticut Education Association) - $185,112


Howard Weinberg (Delaware State Education Association) - $143,241


H.T. Nguyen (Federal Education Association) - $207,698


Joan Husted (Hawaii State Teachers Association) - $108,400


Michael McCartney Healy (Hawaii State Teachers Association) - $76,731


James Shackelford (Idaho Education Association) - $178,964


Frank Yates (Mississippi Association of Educators) - $125,544


Ben Simmons (Missouri NEA) - $157,049


David Smith (MEA-MFT in Montana) - $103,900


Edward Shumaker (NEA New Hampshire) - $119,922


Colleen Borst (North Carolina Association of Educators) - $137,224


Lela Odom (Oklahoma Education Association) - $123,797


Robert Walsh (NEA Rhode Island) - $155,402


Robert Whitehead (South Dakota Education Association) - $132,145


Bryce Healy (South Dakota Education Association) - $99,313


E.C. Walker (Texas State Teachers Association) - $143,618


Joel Cook (Vermont NEA) - $138,591


Jerry Caruthers (Virginia Education Association) - $155,811


Jean Hayek (Wyoming Education Association) - $101,858


The U.S. Department of Labor web site is not the most user-friendly site in the world, so if you wish to examine NEA's disclosure report, it would probably be easier to use this shortcut:


a) Follow this link:


b) In the box next to File Number, type 000-342


c) Click Submit


d) On the page that comes up, click on the link that reads "2008 Report"


e) Wait for it to load, because it will take some time.