The highest-paid Metro general government employee is getting a big raise.

You may have never heard of him, but you’ve seen the building he runs - the Music City Center.

Charles Starks is getting a $78,000 raise, making his new base salary $304,000. He is also eligible to earn a performance-based raise of an additional 20 percent.

He has been the CEO since the Music City Center opened in 2013.

Before that, Starks ran the old 1980’s-era convention center, which is now being demolished. It is being replaced by a multi-million dollar mixed-use development.

Starks was already the highest-paid employee in Metro's general government, not including the school board or Nashville Electric Service.

Mayor Megan Barry makes $180,000. Rich Riebeling, Metro's Chief Operating Officer makes $205,000. Police Chief Steve Anderson’s salary is just over $208,000.

Starks, at his previous base salary of $226,000 a year, made the top of the list, and that was before his bonus and his latest raise.

In April, the convention center authority voted to give Starks a bonus of $45,200 dollars, increasing his compensation to $271,200.

The board also voted to increase his new base salary to $304,000.

He is eligible for a 20 percent bonus on top of that if he meets certain benchmarks.

If he earns that bonus, he'd be making more than double what the mayor makes.

The convention center board based the increase on what its meeting minutes describe as “an in-depth assessment” done by Cushion Employer Services. The minutes indicate the consultant looked at peer competition and the market for top talent.

The Channel 4 I-Team asked officials at the Music City Center for a copy of the in-depth assessment; we were told there's nothing in writing and that the study was “presented verbally” to the executive committee of the board.

Board Chairman Marty Dickens told the I-Team that in the board's opinion, Starks is outstanding and shows great leadership and vision.

It's worth noting that Starks is not paid with tax dollars.

The Music City Center is funded mostly by tourist dollars.

Here are the base salaries of all Metro general government workers. The information is provided by Metro government.

Click to view the spreadsheet of salaries.

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved



Nancy Amons is an award-winning member of the News4 I-Team. She has been breaking stories in Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years.

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