If the HD has been teaching 30 years and is on the admin pay scale, those numbers are probably right. You donít get paid in education for ďamountĒ or ďqualityĒ of work. You get paid for years of experience, and for the first few years that sucks bad.
Being an assistant often means being a Gaucho de Gatos and a Manure Engineer. As a young(er) Director, I took to heart a bit of advice from a good friend and mentor (whom I later ended up working for): as an assistant, my job was to keep as many student level issues from getting to the HD level as possible so he can focus on the parts of the job that are above my pay grade. Yes, you put up with a lot, but you learn how to handle the tough situations so that later, when youíre in the HD hot seat, you have the toolbox to diffuse those bombs.
Iíve been in one situation where I was teaching or co-teaching with the second assistant for 8 of the 14 classes we had in a day, while the HD only did 4. Thatís how it goes. When I grew tired of that situation, I moved. Now, Iím in a smaller school and itís way more equitable between positions, but the demands are also lower because there arenít Joneses to keep up with.
You also need to understand that the HD spot is as much (or more) an administrative and political position as it is a teaching one. They spend a lot of time with financial and logistical issues. They also do a lot of glad-handing, ego-stroking, and damage control with all the big heads. They have to keep your name and your programís name out of the pulpits, air waves, coffee shops, and board meetings except for glowing praises. Thatís a full time job no one trains you for.
And if you feel the HD is too absent from the class structure, sit down with them and talk with them. Express your concerns in a non-complaint and non-accusatory mode, and ask them what they think can be done to help.