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.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • 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

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

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

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads