Fresh off the opening of 16 light-rail miles, Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl will skip a pay raise this year, in exchange for improved compensation in the future.

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Fresh off the opening of 16 light-rail miles, Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl will skip a pay raise this year, in exchange for improved compensation in the future.

Her salary this year will be $195,467, followed by raises of 3 to 6 percent in 2011 and in 2012, if she stays the third year. She also will be eligible for a performance award of up to $6,000, as well as up to $25,000 per year in retirement compensation, a two-month sabbatical in 2012, and payment for up to 600 hours of unused vacation time whenever her employment ends.

Transit-board members approved the contract extension in December. Earl, 56, became executive director nine years ago, when huge cost overruns threatened Sound Transit’s rail projects — and is often credited with rescuing the agency.

Times staff and news services