Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cryonics Salaries and Wages

Aschwin de Wolf writes:

"For most of its history Alcor used to be rather transparent about staff member salaries in its communications and the magazine. It may not be a coincidence that this practice disappeared during the period when Alcor saw substantial increases in compensation for (some of) its staff members. To give some perspective, the old Tim Freeman Cryonics FAQ included the following question and answer:

7-2. Is anyone getting rich from cryonics? What are the salaries at these organizations like?

In December 1990, Cryonics magazine reported that the Board of Directors of Alcor voted a 25% pay cut for all of the staff, so they could keep their budget balanced. Many of the Directors are also on the staff. The salaries after the cut ranged from $22,500 annually for the highest paid full-time employee (the President) to $14,400 for the lowest-paid full-time employee. None of the Alcor staff are getting rich from their salaries.

It would be a worthwhile undertaking to do a comprehensive study of Alcor’s staff and consultant compensation history and policies (or lack thereof). There is never a shortage of arguments to justify higher compensation and ad-hoc decision making in cryonics, but it is doubtful that generous salary increases in the industry over the years were necessary to recruit or retain competent staff members. It might even be argued that a number of problems in cryonics are actually linked to offering wages that exceed what the employees who receive them would otherwise earn in the market place. Similarly, substantial cost savings can be obtained by increasing productivity and decreasing staff members. Issues of compensation and staff efficiency should be essential topics of consideration in any serious discussion about Alcor becoming more self-sustaining and less dependent on wealthy donors."

(Emphasis added. It might even be argued that many of the recipients of overly-generous salaries, at cryonics organizations, would not be offered any salary at all, in a conventional medical, or scientific, setting.)

To see Alcor's salaries, and other expenses, look for their Form 990's, here:

2008 shows Tanya Jones (listed as "Exec Dir, CEO, President COO) being paid $83,797 and receiving an additional $5,627 in "Other compensation." If you add up all the salaries listed on Alcor's 2008 Form 990, you get $196,362, which is reported on page 10, line 5, of that report. Just below that figure, on page 10, line 7, you will see "Other salaries and wages" of $270,538. Whom did that money go to? The same situation exists, in 2007, with $203,825 going to named staff members, and $283,286 going to "other."

I'm not going to take the time to go back, any further. Maybe Alcor has a valid reason for providing mysterious "Other salaries and wages" far in excess of those provided to the named staff members. If so, I'm sure some Alcor members would like to know what that reason is, and where that money is going.

The total salaries at Suspended Animation, of Boynton Beach, Florida, (primarily funded by Life Extension Foundation (LEF)), are far in excess of those being paid, at Alcor, in spite of SA having less named "Officers, Directors and Trustees," than Alcor, at last count. I think it's safe to assume the LEF-funded salaries at Critical Care Research and 21st Century Medicine are comparable to, or in excess of, those being paid by Alcor. Why are people with so few qualifications amongst them, being paid so much money? This situation seems to have more to do with "loyalty," rather than qualifications and/or competency.

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