skip to nav skip to content

FPO

The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Another take on Summerfest's Don Smiley and his pay

  • Print

 

Don Smiley's emails have legs.

The Summerfest director dropped me a missive a few weeks ago after a Journal/Sentinel story about his pay: $773 thousand in 2011, the last year for which such information is available.   It created a buzz in some circles and got dismissed in others.   Smiley didn't talk to the paper about his take-home, prompting me to suggest on-air that he "own" it--if that indeed is what he's knocking down, I said, claim it and tell the people why.

That's what he did in his e-mail.

Urban Milwaukee's Bruce Murphy dissects Smiley's response this week.   

I'm still not sure I get the hub-bub--Bo Black's salary was the stuff of great consternation when she preceded Smiley as Summerfest's director--and I agree with Murphy that Smiley's salary shouldn't be something that has to be ferreted out by a newspaper reporter.   Again, if that's what he's going to get, the Summerfest board should own the story, get out in front of it, and explain it.   Smiley did in his e-mail.   His bosses would've been wise to have made a pre-emptive strike.

I don't know the going rate for festival directors on the national market.   I do know Summerfest is something that works, although too many in this town like to rip it apart.   We all have a vision of what it should be, and its organizers are tasked with the impossible mission of trying to make everyone happy.

Summerfest came a long way in it's four and a half decades at the lakefront, and two things have been consistent: the smile that's been the Big Gig's logo for ions, and controversy.

 

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Milwaukee, WI

Broken Clouds
42°
Broken Clouds
Precip
30%
Humidity
47%
Wind
ENE at 7 mph
Alerts
0

Current Promotions

  • 2014 Classic Free Ride

    2014 Classic Free Ride

    Click here to see the 2014 Classic Free Ride information, updates, galleries and more!

  • We Love Wisconsin

    We Love Wisconsin

    Find out where we are as we hit the road to explore the state we love!



More >>>


Submit photos to:

620 WTMJ