The Arizona Commerce Authority’s interim president and CEO is getting a pay bump while the agency continues its search for Don Cardon’s replacement.
The ACA’s compensation committee on Thursday approved a 120-day pay raise for Sandra Watson, retroactive to July 1, when she took over the authority’s top spot from the departing Cardon. The new salary for Watson, a 15-year veteran of the old Arizona Department of Commerce and the ACA’s second in command, is $218,500, up from her previous salary of $190,000.
The new salary must still be approved by the ACA’s executive committee, scheduled to meet Aug. 8. The agency’s main goal is to recruit businesses to Arizona
Cardon signed a three-year contract in August worth $300,000 a year, plus several bonuses and perks.
ACA spokeswoman Nicole McTheny did not say whether the authority expected to have a new CEO in place at the end of Watson’s interim contract, scheduled to end around Nov. 1.
“We don’t have an update on the CEO search, but it is still ongoing,” McTheny told the Arizona Capitol Times.
In May, officials at the agency backtracked on comments that the new CEO would be announced at a board meeting that month. DRH International, the firm hired to conduct the search, submitted a list of nine or 10 candidates for the position. The authority has refused to disclose the names of the candidates.
At an executive committee meeting in July, Gov. Jan Brewer, who co-chairs the board, briefly addressed the search, saying only, “We’ll continue to work with DHR to identify the very best candidates for this very important role.”
Cardon announced his resignation in January, about five months after signing his contract. In addition to Watson’s salary, the ACA’s executive committee will consider the terms of a closeout of Cardon’s contract at its next meeting.