by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + College Football Fanatic
“A nearly $1 million salary and benefit package for a nonprofit executive is not only questionable on its face but also raises questions about how the organization manages its finances in other areas.” – Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), criticizing the pay of Roxanne Spillett, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Spillett received $988,591 in pay and benefits in 2008, while the organization had revenues of $107 million. (Source: “Lawmakers Question Salaries of Nonprofits,” New York Times, 27 July 2010.)
Interesting point, Senator. My question is, will you in turn ask the highest paid public employee in your home state of Oklahoma to take a pay cut? Now, we’re not talking about the governor or the chief justice of the state supreme court — we’re talking a football coach…
Bob Stoops, the coach of the University of Oklahoma Sooners, earned $4.3 million in 2009 — a salary that’s higher than what some professional coaches make in the for-profit National Football League:
“Stoops is under contract with Oklahoma through the end of 2015 after agreeing to a two-year extension earlier this year. That deal, loaded with incentives aimed at keeping him with the Sooners, is one of the richest in college football and would pay him more than $30 million — or about $4.3 million annually — if he were to stay for the full term. Last year, he collected a $3 million bonus for remaining as the Sooners coach for 10 years. Under the new contract, Stoops receives a $700,000 stay bonus at the end of every year with an additional $800,000 — for a total of $1.5 million — if he is still the Sooners’ coach on Jan. 1, 2011. The contract also includes incentives for championships, bowl games and high graduation rates.” (Source: ESPN)
Nice to see education getting a plug there at the end.
Since Roxanne Spillet’s contribution to the Boys & Girls Club was measured strictly in financial terms — no mention of employee morale, crisis management, brand enhancement, corporate relations, or the other myriad responsibilities of a nonprofit CEO — let’s look at Stoops’ contribution strictly in financial terms. In 2008, the University of Okalhoma football team under Stoops earned $42.6 million.
Not shabby — but that’s less than half of what the Boys & Girls Club of America took in, even though a top college football team with a TV contract is far more recession-proof than a charity organization. Now if we view these figures in percentage terms, Stoops earned 10% of his organization’s revenue, and Spillet earned less than 1% of hers.
Oh, and by the way, what’s the cost of living in Norman, OK, versus New York City?
So, Senator Coburn, all things considered, shouldn’t you be raising questions about how the University of Oklahoma manages its finances in other areas?
Yes, it’s incredibly easy to make almost any successful person look bad by focusing on their salary. After all, Stoops’ $4.3 million is less than the $5 million that actor Shia LaBeouf made for appearing in “Tranformers 2” (because he’s the reason millions of boys and girls paid to see that movie, right?). And LaBeouf’s take was dwarfed by the $42 million that HP paid former CEO Carly Fiorina to just go away. (Yes, her golden parachute was as much as the entire Oklahoma football team’s annual revenue.) Then there’s Richard S. Fuld, who earned $457 million over ten years as CEO of Lehman Brothers, which is no longer in business.
All things considered, $1 million to run a major nonprofit doesn’t look so bad — if only Spillet would get those boys and girls to play some football…
Related Article: Facts and Go Figure: The Sneaky Art of Justifying Anything