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Governor’s Task Force Seeks Compensation Data From Not-For-Profit Organizations

Originally Posted: August 30, 2011

Albany - Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services, announced that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Task Force on Not-For-Profit Entities sent a data request to not-for-profit organizations seeking detailed information about compensation for their executives and board members. Superintendent Lawsky chairs the Governor's 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," Superintendent Lawsky wrote. "Not-for-profits that provide services to the poor and the needy have a special obligation to the taxpayers that support them," Lawsky's letter states.

The letter is being sent on a rolling basis to the boards of trustees of organizations selected based on an analysis of funds received from the State of New York. They include Medicaid providers, other health services providers, many types of social service providers, hospitals and others.

Governor Cuomo created the Task Force following reports of startlingly excessive salaries and compensation packages for executives at not-for-profits that depended on state Medicaid funding through the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and other State agencies.

In addition to seeking detailed compensation and other financial data, the Task Force letter also asks the organizations' boards to explain the basis for their not-for-profit status and whether it is appropriate to recoup any excessive compensation.

Besides Superintendent Lawsky, the task force includes Senator Carl Marcellino, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, New York State Inspector General Ellen Biben, Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, Medicaid Inspector General Jim Cox and Commissioners Michael F. Hogan, Courtney Burke, Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez and Nirav R. Shah from the Office of Mental Health, OPWDD, the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse and the Department of Health, respectively.

Senator Carl L. Marcellino, Chairman of the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee, said, "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. 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."

According to the Department of the Budget's January 2010 preliminary analysis of not-for-profit employees contracting with the mental hygiene agencies (Office of People With Developmental Disabilities, Office of Mental Health, and Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services), there were approximately 1,926 employees with annual salaries greater than or equal to $100,000. The total value of their salaries was $324.6 million, with an average salary of $168,555.

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