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Florida Juvenile Justice Agency Calls Salary for CEO of Non Profit Contractor Excessive

The Secretary of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is outraged that a nonprofit company that holds two dozen DJJ contracts pays its CEO more than $1.2 million annually. The DJJ wants more that money going to help kids.

For more than two decades, The Henry & Rilla White Foundation (Foundation) has done work for the state of Florida. Currently, it holds a contract with the state’s agriculture department to feed children it cares for under DJJ contracts. The Foundation has 23 contracts worth a total of $10.2 million in the current budget year.

During a routine review of contracts, DJJ discovered that the Foundation’s CEO, William Schossler, earned $397,940 in salary and $862,837 in other compensation in 2010. IRS filings from the year earlier show Schossler made $382,906 in salary and $579,914 in bonuses and incentive compensation.

That prompted DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters to order the Foundation to propose a “plan of action” to cut salary overhead. “It was never the department’s intent that such a large share of the funding would go to compensate the top administration of your corporation instead of into direct services for our youth,” states a December 12 letter from Walters to Schossler. “That is something that neither the department nor the citizens of Florida can abide.”

Schossler, who worked for state prisons and social service jobs for 15 years, responded with a 2009 report done by Compensation Resources in New Jersey to argue his salary and benefits are within the range of those paid to CEOs of similarly sized nonprofits.

Walters disagreed and said there is a “disparity” between Schossler’s pay and that of CEOs of other nonprofits that contract with the state. “There is no way that over the past couple of years you can have the level of executive compensation rise without seeing a reduction in services,” Walters said.

Schossler said the Foundation’s board decided to reward him for building the Foundation up over the years. “You work your butt off for 25 years, and then you get ready to retire, and somebody decides to pay you some retirement money and somebody doesn’t like that,” he said. “This is a hell of a way to do business, throwing me under the bus.”

Walters is retooling DJJ with a “Roadmap to System Excellence.” It proposes ending contracts for aftercare service with contractors, which comprise almost two-thirds of DJJ’s budget. That coincides with a plan by the state legislature to examine the contracts that consume nearly half of Florida’s $70 billion budget.

Source: Miami Herald

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