Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has included a provision in his budget that will allow the future executive director of Gunston Hall Plantation to receive a portion of his salary from private donors. As it stands, the Board of Regents, who oversee the former home of George Mason, are finding it difficult to find suitable candidates for the open position, due to a salary cap of just more than $80,000 a year.
The exact salary that the Regents want for the position has not been made publicly known.
"We know that since Northern Virginia is more expensive than many other places in the country, that to attract the right applicant you probably have to offer a better salary," said Gunston Hall interim director Patrick Ladden.
"The anticipation is that the salary is not high enough to attract the kind of applicant pool that the Regents want."
According to page 524 of the Governor's budget:
"With the written approval of the Governor, the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Science Museum of Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Gunston Hall, the Library Board, and the Virginia College Savings Plan Board may supplement the salary of the Director of each museum, the Librarian of Virginia and the Director of the Virginia College Savings Plan Board from nonstate funds.
"In approving a supplement, the Governor should be guided by criteria which provide a reasonable limit on the total additional income and the criteria should include, without limitation, a consideration of the salaries paid to similar officials at comparable museum and libraries of other states. The respective Boards shall report approved supplements to the Department of Human Resource Management for retention in its records."
Gunston Hall is currently developing its five-year strategic plan, and the draft document is expected for release this spring or summer.
Tim Sargeant is one of three members on the Gunston Hall Board of Visitors. "I think what we're seeing is a good strategic planning process to move Gunston Hall forward, to make it as viable and attractive as it can be," he told Patch.
The last director of Gunston Hall was David Reese, who was fired last year by the Board of Regents.