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Commerce Authority sets pay for interim CEO

Gov. Jan Brewer and former Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Don Cardon listens to comments from a board member during the agency's final meeting before it officially transitions from the Arizona Department of Commerce to the Arizona Commerce Authority on July 1. (Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

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.

One comment

  1. I have spoken with governor Brewer’s team many times about repairing the Arizona economy and having my contacts bring in theme parks and Mfg for those theme parks amongst other items, plus billions in retail, wholesale and export businesses. THIS MEANS JOBS.

    To be brief people (including the author of this article), PLEASE call Governor Brewer’s office and tell her that JOHN L MEALER will do this job free of charge until I create 1000 new jobs and then they can pay me $50,000 per year with health and dental and a retired fleet car to drive.

    JL Mealer
    5054 Pine Dawn Rd
    Lakeside, Arizona 85929

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