Friday, February 15, 2013

Goodwill Industries in the Raleigh-Durham Area is Doing Good Work

And Providing Great Financial Rewards for Some of Its Management and Board

It’s hard to leave the so-called ‘entitlement’ issue that Mitt Romney raised in the last election, because Mr. Romney was right about the idea, just wrong it its application.  The real ‘entitlement’ class is those very wealthy and highly compensated people who feel they are entitled to huge compensation, tax breaks and special treatment. Don't believe that, read on.

It turns out that the head of Goodwill Industries in the Raleigh Durham area and his spouse take home over $800,000 a year in compensation.  And both Mr. McLain and his wife have had huge salary increases recently.  And there are other benefits also.

Dennis McLain earns $260,801 in base pay and $169,438 in extra compensation. A 2012 audit report shows Goodwill also approved a tax-free retirement housing allowance for the president, $2,500 a month from his retirement until his death, and a retirement medical plan paying up to $9,000 a year.

Linda McLain’s base pay totals $334,195, with $30,938 in other benefits. Four other employees earn six-figure salaries.

That’s pretty nice.  And it’s also nice to be a board member of the group.

For at least two years, Goodwill retained and paid a real-estate brokerage owned by developer Brantley Tillman, who sat on its board of directors. The board chairman until 2011, Tillman’s firm was paid $213,000 in 2010 and $108,000 in 2009 for commissions on land purchases.

But that’s okay, according to Goodwill since everybody does it.

Tillman did not respond to a call seeking comment. In response, Martin said Tillman would have recused himself from any vote on this money, eliminating a conflict of interest. She pointed out that the YMCA of the Triangle also reports board members doing contract work, including one for more than $600,000.

Now this is not the say the organization does not do a great deal of good.  It does.  But think how much more good it could do if it paid its senior management salary and benefits more in line with the charitable mission of the operation.  And if this senior management quits, well so be it, there are probably a large number of managers who will work just as effectively for far less, although those people would also recognize the non-monetary compensation they get from working in a great cause that benefits the communities they serve.

No, that’s not something Mr. Romney and his real entitlement class would understand.  See the money for Goodwill comes from sale of donated goods, with the idea that the proceeds are used for charitable purposes not to enrich senior management.  That idea just won’t fly with the Mitt Romney’s of the world.

So today's assignment class, is to find a national non-profit organization that has not been corrupted by greed and is not being used as a way to enrich those who manage and control it.

  Betcha can't.

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