The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 12, 2013

Nonprofit exec pay examined

Report: Many make over $100G

HARRISBURG — Richard Bosserman has spent more than four decades turning a small workshop for the visually impaired into a $20 million operation making everything from mining equipment to insulation used in aircraft to the fluorescent vests worn by Department of Transportation road crews.

He runs his Cambria County nonprofit like a business and Bosserman gets paid like a business executive.

Bosserman is paid $434,978 a year, a legislative study found.

He is one of 910 nonprofit employees who make more than $200,000, an investigation by the Pennsylvania Budget and Finance Committee revealed.

Compensation for executives with nonprofits that provide state services has come under increased scrutiny as social agencies complain that the state is cutting funding.  Lawmakers last year commissioned a study to determine what kind of compensation was given to nonprofit executives.

Investigators found that more than half of the 662 nonprofits examined had at least one employee who is paid more than $100,000. In some respects, though, the findings were skewed.

They included data from hospitals that provide social services, so doctors and other hospital administrators are captured in the findings.

More than 300 of the non-profits examined by investigators had no employee earning more than $100,000.

“When you take out the hospitals, of 599 organizations, 21 percent had 1 (person making more than $100,000),” noted Sharon Ward, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center in a blog entry that examined the study’s findings.

The study was commissioned in response to concerns most adamantly raised by House Appropriations Chairman William Adolph, R-Delaware.

Lawmakers have been concerned about ensuring that government dollars are getting to the people who are supposed to be receiving services rather than padding paychecks of executives, said Mike Stoll, a spokesman in Adolph’s office.

Pennsylvania is not alone in tackling this issue.

In Florida, lawmakers proposed setting a limit on executive pay of $129,972 for agencies that receive more than two-thirds of their budget through tax dollars, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported.

In New York, the governor set a limit of $199,000 for executives at charities that receive public support. In New Jersey, nonprofit executives can make no more than $141,000 to do business with the state. New Jersey employs a sliding pay scale so that smaller nonprofits have a lower ceiling on executive compensation.

Philip Durgin, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, said the new study did not explore how much nonprofit agency revenue derives from tax dollars.

Durgin said that in many cases, executives with hefty paychecks may be getting paid based on the size of their total operations, while the state tax dollars only account for a small portion of their business.

That’s the case at Bosserman’s agency, the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped, he said.

At his workshop, the Department of Public Welfare payments only account for about 6 percent of total revenues, Bosserman said. At other small social service agencies, the DPW payments may account for more than three-quarters of the budget, Bosserman said.

Bosserman said that there are IRS guidelines that charities must follow when setting compensation for employees.

“We follow the rules,” Bosserman said. “We do that diligently.”

Bosserman said executive compensation only became an issue after the state ceased using the counties to funnel money to nonprofits.

“It’s political,” Bosserman said. “We employ people who can’t work anyplace else. Now the state is saying, don’t spend as much money. It’s been a real shootout.”

It is too soon to say whether any policy changes will come out of the study’s findings, Stoll said.  The data “helps the whole conversation,” he said.

One thing that is immediately apparent is that there are nonprofits that are doing important work with employees who are being paid modestly.

“There are a lot who are doing it right,” Stoll said.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • pow21 Person of the Week: ‘I wanted to help’: Teen uses birthday to show love for children, animals

    Anastasia Machik’s love for children and animals inspired her to forgo her birthday gifts for the sake of the two.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students taking steps to call attention to child abuse

    An upcoming community walk will help raise awareness of child abuse.

    April 20, 2014

  • In brief: PennDOT reports weekly work schedule

    April 20, 2014

  • District Deaths April 21, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads