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Mr Paul's "remuneration package", amounting to $310,793 in the year to last March, also reflected the desire of successive boards to retain and reward him, given his continuing success, Mrs Wilson said.
The board has released details of Mr Paul's remuneration arrangements, since March 1996, when his base salary was $76,000, with superannuation payments amounting to $4560, after media inquiries under the Local Government Information and Meetings Act.
The $310,793 package includes an "at risk" element amounting to $37,658, a base salary of $224,365, a vehicle lease entitlement of $23,520, and fringe benefit tax ($11,788).
Mr Paul's museum salary has risen steadily, with the largest single annual increase lifting his base salary by about $37,000 to $214,631 in the March 2010 year.
Mrs Wilson said Mr Paul had also been recognised in the wider museum sector as "a well-respected and productive leader", and he was well supported by other staff at the museum.
People were sometimes brought in from outside Dunedin and paid high salaries to pursue various leadership roles, she noted, and efforts should also be made to retain leaders in the city who were already proven strong performers.
The museum's performance and that of Mr Paul continued to be "remarkable", including in attracting high visitor numbers both to the museum itself - 460,000 last year - and the more than 611,000 attendance at the recent Te Ao Maori: Maori Treasures from the Otago Museum show in Shanghai.
The museum's Tropical Forest attraction remained a significant success.
Mr Paul and the museum had also shown leadership in other ways, including staging the Asia and Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres (Aspac) conference for the first time in New Zealand in 2010.
City council community development committee chairman Cr Bill Acklin said Mr Paul's remuneration package was a matter solely determined by the museum board.
However, the package seemed somewhat higher than for other comparable museum sector management jobs, including at Te Papa, he said.
Cr Acklin said that, nevertheless, the work Mr Paul was doing at the Otago Museum was "fantastic".
Te Papa's 2010-11 annual report says its highest-paid employee is in the $300,000 to $310,000 remuneration band. It employs 321 permanent staff and has annual revenue of $46.4 million.
Mr Paul also earns more than many other Otago chief executives.