Sunday, September 27, 2020
Sept. 27, 2020

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Audit calls out high salaries for Travel Oregon executives


SALEM, Ore. — Pay for the director and other managers of Oregon’s travel bureau is among the highest of any state agency, even though Travel Oregon has a much smaller staff and budget, according to a state audit released Thursday.

Since 2012, managers’ salaries ballooned by 76 percent, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

As of June, the state paid CEO Todd Davidson $381,624 including a car and cellphone allowance, up 129 percent from approximately $167,000 a decade ago. The Oregon Tourism Commission has since given Davidson a 3 percent raise, auditors wrote.

By comparison, Department of Human Services Director Fariborz Pakseresht, who leads Oregon’s largest state agency with roughly 8,600 employees, was paid $200,388 as of June. Travel Oregon employs 60 people.

The audit findings will likely raise questions for already skeptical lawmakers whom Gov. Kate Brown has asked to approve an increase in the statewide tourism tax that largely funds Travel Oregon. It’s part of Brown’s plan to secure an additional $20 million for the 2021 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, for a total of $40 million in state funding.