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Gold Star Friday returns…

With all the news about overpaid and over-perked executives, it’s sometimes easy to forget that some companies are at least trying to do the right thing. It’s also been way too long since we’ve handed out any gold stars and, quite frankly, I can use a bit of positive news today.

Two recent filings certainly are gold-star worthy. Last week, Griffon Corp. (GFF) filed this 8K with a simple declarative statement:

—It is the policy of the Corporation that executives should be responsible for the taxes payable by them with respect to their compensation. In unusual circumstances where the Committee believes that accommodations have to be made to recruit a new executive to the Corporation, limited reimbursement for taxes payable may be included in contracts; but even in those circumstances, the —gross ups will be limited to payments triggered by both a change in control and termination of employment and will be subject to a three year sunset provision.

It seems so simple — just two sentences. But as footnoted regulars know, gross-ups are all too common in the filings.

Last week also saw this consulting agreement between McCormick & Co. (MKC) and its former President and CEO, Robert Lawless. Lawless has been serving as Chairman, but plans to retire on March 25. When Lawless stepped down as CEO last January, he was getting paid $20K a month under his old consulting agreement. The new one notes that Lawless has “generously offered to waive (his fee) for 2009.”

Trust me, both of these instances are very, very rare.

Oh — almost forgot — one more piece of seemingly good news: Brandeis’ President, Jehuda Reinharz, apologized for his less-than-well-thought out decision to close the Rose Art Museum. Whether it’s the high-priced PR firm that’s caused him to come to his senses or the outpouring of criticism, it doesn’t really matter.