It's been reported that Tom Thornton, who resigned as president and chief executive of the Kansas Bioscience Authority in April, earned a $265,000 salary and a $100,000 bonus in 2010. Lavish compensation was on the list of complaints that Republican lawmakers lodged against the agency.
It turns out that Thornton had the potential to earn even more money. Kansas Watchdog, a conservative news outlet, obtained a copy of Thornton's contract and determined that he was eligible to receive $463,200.
According to Kansas Watchdog's interpretation of the document, Thornton could reach up to $159,000 in incentives on top of a $265,000 salary and a $32,200 benefits package. State Rep. Charlotte O'Hara, an Overland Park Republican, told the Watchdog that Thornton's compensation was "breathtaking."
Thornton's "incentive opportunities" were pegged to various objectives. His efforts to "promote and support KBA strategic and operational goals," for instance, allowed him to earn 42 percent of his base salary. Wait, this wasn't included in his "base" job duties?
Other incentives were tied to more tangible outcomes. Thornton was eligible to receive up to 18 percent of base pay for securing funding relating to the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and improving Kansas' ranking as a bioscience powerhouse in a site-selection magazine.
Kansas Watchdog notes that Kansas jumped from ninth to fifth place in the rankings that the magazine, Business Facilities, published in July 2010. Well played, Tom.