Tampa Bay Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash saw a slight bump in pay in 2018 compared to his reported earnings in 2017.
Tash received a little over $488,000 in total reportable compensation in 2018, up about $3,000 from $485,000 in 2017, according to available 990 tax filings.
While the pay increase is statistically insignificant, less than one half of one percent of his salary, it came as Tash himself was lamenting increased costs to the paper associated with paper tariffs under President Donald Trump’s administration.
And Tash wasn’t the only one who saw a pay bump that year.
Kelly McBride, the Senior Vice President for the Poynter Institute, earned more than $161,000 in 2018, up nearly $6,000 from her 2017 earnings.
Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member for Poynter, saw a nearly $14,000 pay bump from $170,357 in 2017 to $184,351 in 2018.
Meanwhile, Poynter President Neil Brown took a pay cut of nearly $6,000, dropping from nearly $297,000 in 2017 to $291,000 in 2018.
The overall boost in executive salaries though came the same year Tash penned a column in the Times lamenting paper tariffs he said would inevitably lead to potential increases in costs to consumers, a reduction in content and employee layoffs.
Indeed, the Times did layoff employees.
Tash complained about the tariffs in a March 23, 2018 column. Less than a month later, the paper announced it was cutting about 50 jobs and directly referenced the tariffs as the culprit. Later that year the Poynter Institute, which owns the Times, cut another 16 full and part-time jobs.
Earlier this year the Times laid off another seven employees, all of them journalists.
Add to that the Times’ ongoing financial conundrum. The paper wracked up millions of dollars in debt with Crystal Financial including more than $13 million to purchase and facilitate the purchase of the now defunct Tampa Tribune.
The Times refinanced the $18 million balance of that debt through Encina Business Credit with the help of eight local investors who contributed a combined $15 million to the times that includes, among others, Tash and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.