Why one legislator wants to cap FHSAA salaries
A few more tidbits from the story in today’s paper on the salary and benefits assigned to the FHSAA’s commissioner and two state bills that would cap them:
* You might have noticed that one critical lawmaker, Rep. Larry Metz (R-Eustis), wasn’t quoted in the story. He wasn’t available for an interview…but he responded to some questions via email just after midnight, past our deadline (and my bedtime).
Metz echoed what Sen. Kelli Stargel said on why they’ve proposed capping the FHSAA executive director’s salary at what the governor makes.
“Such a limit is reasonable given that the organization is essentially funded with public school dollars or revenue collected in connection with public school activities,” Metz said. “I do not consider the FHSAA commissioner’s duties to be more demanding than the governor’s.”
* One criticism we’ve heard over the years is that the FHSAA’s commissioners make six-figure salaries while collecting their pensions as retired state employees. It’s not illegal, which is why today’s story only touched on it.
Metz called the issue “troubling” but said this bill wasn’t intended to change that.
* FHSAA officials questioned why the state legislature wants to regulate a private, non-profit organization. Metz’s response:
“The FHSAA’s sources of funding include public school dollars and revenue collected in connection with public school activities. We have an obligation to ensure these funds are spent wisely. Accumulating excessive funds should not be an objective of such an organization….
“Although a non-profit organization, (the) FHSAA is a quasi-public organization in that it has statutory authority and duties directly affecting a public function, i.e. high school athletics. As such, legislative oversight is justified.”
For what it’s worth, the National Federation of State High School Associations said state legislatures occasionally step in and regulate organizations like the FHSAA. But most of the time, they let the high school sports associations do their own thing.
* Finally, Metz said his bill – HB 1279 – had been on hold for a week as he worked on other things. Not anymore.
“HB 1279 is now on an agenda,” Metz said, “putting it on the front burner.”