After Inspector General report, senators want to solve excessive pay problems

Organization Session 111720 TS 042
Inquiries come after an anti-domestic violence group paid millions to its CEO.

Senators are weighing how they should address excessive compensation among the state’s private sector partners.

Late Monday, Chief Inspector General Melinda Miguel released her preliminary findings on more than 800 organizations contracted with state agencies, including at least 12 that gave their leadership teams excessive compensation using government funds. That investigation stems from revelations that one state partnered organization’s former CEO received $7.5 million in compensation over three years, largely from government dollars.

Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee Chair Lauren Book told Florida Politics she is beginning to look at how to ratchet back compensation in excess of what state law allows. Possible policies could come out of her committee.

“Clearly the guardrails that are put in place aren’t being followed,” the Plantation Democrat said. “We’re going to look at different ways of making sure that perhaps there are more teeth to be able to get some of these organizations to do what we have outlined as appropriate.”

Sen. Aaron Bean, a Fleming Island Republican who played an integral role in the Legislature’s effort to cut ties with Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence after the CEO pay sandal, took a similar “wait and see” position.

“We’re going to be looking at it to see what we can do to put some guardrails on some salaries going forward,” he said. “We don’t really know. We’re waiting for the full report.”

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) no longer partners with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, but nine of the 12 organizations highlighted in the Inspector General’s report are still partners.

“I don’t know if it’s a pattern, but … I don’t know how much control DCF has,” Book said. “I think part of that is a problem that we have been looking at for quite some time. We’re going to continue to do that.”

DCF’s partners in question are Big Bend Community Based Care, ChildNet, Citrus Health Network, Community Based Care of Brevard, Eckerd Youth Alternatives, Embrace Families, Family Support Services of North Florida, Lakeview Center and Safe Children Coalition.

The remaining three nonprofits are contracted with the Department of Education, but their executives’ excessive compensations have been returned to the department’s Office of Early Learning. Those groups are the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade Monroe and Children’s Forum.

Citrus Health Network has pushed back against the OIG report saying it is showing the combined total of state and non-state compensation without explanation.

However, more companies may be hiding more secret compensation, as FCADV did, Rep. Erin Grall said during a House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee meeting Wednesday. Last year, that committee unearthed some of former FCADV CEO Tiffany Carr‘s exorbitant pay.

“Clearly there is much more work to do to stop the excess compensation of Florida’s private sector service partners,” Grall said.

Some organizations did not provide their contracting agencies with all the information requested in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order, issued in February.

“It’s troubling that there’re so many organizations that haven’t submitted their required information to the Governor’s Office,” Book said.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


3 comments

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 28, 2021 at 3:02 am

    Put these folks in prison! Wtf they broke the law by paying 150% for CEO salaries! With the Florida need to stabilize our service economy, start by these scumbags paying back the overpayments or put them in jail!

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    January 28, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Not just the pay that’s the problem. It’s how they spend tax dollars. And how they use their organizations to push certain politicians, just skirting the IRS rules against 501(c)(3) orgs endorsing. I was personally involved with groups that did that in Dade and was shunned when I pointed it out.

  • flash gordon

    January 29, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    and the rates they pay businesses that employ to minimum wage childcare workers has not increased for two decades.

    meet the new boss same as the old boss…

Comments are closed.


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