State demands showdown with high-salaried vendor
Gov. Rick Scott's administration is demanding a face-to-face meeting to seek "immediate cost concessions" and refunds of "excessive administrative costs" with a state vendor that pays its top executive $1.2 million a year.
The showdown follows this report by the Times/Herald on the compensation a non-profit Tallahassee foundation pays its chief executive.
Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters called for the meeting, at 10 a.m. Monday at DJJ headquarters, with officials of the Henry and Rilla White Foundation, a non-profit that has more than two dozen contracts across the state to care for troubled juveniles in state custody.
DJJ is protesting what it claims is a dramatic increase in compensation for White Foundation CEO William Schossler -- most of it paid by Florida taxpayers. The foundation's most recent 990 filing with the Internal Revenue Service, for 2010, shows that it paid Schossler $1.2 million, more than half of it in deferred compensation.
The state's highly unusual action also comes at a time when the leadership of the Senate is calling for intensive review of long-term contracts embedded deep in the state budget which are not usually reviewed or questioned by state legislators.
Sen. Rob Bradley, the Fleming Island Republican who chairs the Senate budget subcommittee that includes DJJ, said he learned of Schossler's pay package through news coverage, and he agrees with the actions Walters is taking. "I agree with DJJ's approach to the issue. I think the compensation is clearly excessive," Bradley said.
DJJ rejected a request by the Times/Herald that a reporter be allowed to sit in on the discussions. "We have concluded that it would set an inappropriate precedent to allow a third party to be involved in such a discussion with a contract provider, even if only as an observer," DJJ spokesman C.J. Drake said in an email.