Board freezes AVMA staff salaries in 2010

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No member of the AVMA community is immune to today's troubled economic times, including AVMA staff.

The Executive Board, which recently asked the House of Delegates to approve a $50 increase in member dues starting in 2011, voted against pay raises for the approximately 130 AVMA employees for 2010.

The board's decision to freeze staff salaries at their current levels translates into an estimated $300,000 in savings for the Association.

Every April, as part of the annual budget cycle, the Executive Board sets aside funds for salary increases and performance awards for the upcoming fiscal year. In November, the board reevaluates that decision and may raise or lower this amount on the basis of the latest economic data.

In April 2009, the board approved funds equivalent to approximately 3 percent of the total salary budget, but come November, the board thought it would be fiscally irresponsible to move ahead with pay raises.

"Given the current economic situation, the board appropriately felt they needed to withhold those funds to reduce or eliminate a potential budget deficit in 2010," AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven explained.

The AVMA ran a $7 million deficit in 2008. At press time in December, the Association's 2009 budget deficit was projected to be much smaller.

The board's decision is notable in that it's been more than a decade since it declined a pay raise for AVMA staff. "This is the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures the board has taken to minimize expenses and be fiscally responsible on behalf of the Association," Dr. DeHaven added.