I don’t want to denigrate executives in the public area, many of whom do a good job, but equating their salaries with executives in the private sector is more difficult than The Columbian’s June 5 and 6 series “Top public salaries” suggests. Public executives have to please politicians, who admittedly have to please the grumpier sector of the public. Not easy, maybe.
But private executives have to please members of the public directly, repeatedly, in the face of competition from other businesses and other demands on the dollar. They have to be good enough at this to consistently make a profit.
Ultimately, the private executive answers to customers. Does the public executive really answer to the taxpayer? A dissatisfied customer can quit buying. A taxpayer who quits paying goes to jail. Kind of an uneven comparison.