Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Task Force On Not-For-Profit Entities is asking organizations around the state to provide detailed information on what compensation their executives and board members receive. The panel is sending out letters on a rolling basis to boards of trustees whose groups receive state funding, including Medicaid providers, social-services organizations, hospitals and others, according to Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services and chairman of the task force.
“Our task force is conducting a top-to-bottom review, not only to audit current compensation levels, but also make recommendations for future rules to ensure taxpayer dollars are used to serve and support the people of this state, not pay for excessive salaries and compensation,” Lawsky wrote in the letter. “Not-for-profits that provide services to the poor and the needy have a special obligation to the taxpayers that support them.”
The 39-question letter asks for the organizations to justify their not-for-profit status and the salaries paid to executives, and whether the board or management is considering any “recoupment and/or claw-back” of pay and benefits given the state of the economy.
Cuomo set up the task force following reports of high salaries and compensation packages for not-for-profits that get Medicaid funding through the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and other state agencies. A January 2010 preliminary analysis of not-for-profits that contract with the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Office of Mental Health, and Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services found that about 1,926 employees had annual salaries of $100,000 or higher. The total value of the salaries was $324.6 million, and the average pay was $168,555, the governor’s Division of the Budget determined.
“As the Task Force works to get a firm grasp on compensation at our taxpayer supported not-for-profits, we need detailed information to better understand the scope of the issue,” Sen. Carl Marcellino, R-Nassau County, a member of the task force. “By working with the not-for-profits, we will be able to craft solutions that protect those that are doing business the right way and address those that are wasting taxpayer dollars for personal gain.”
This is the letter: