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March 12, 2009; Washington Post | Talk about bad timing! Four GOP senators have declared that without more information about how the Boys & Girls Clubs can account for paying CEO Roxane Spillett about $988,000 in 2008, they intend to stop action on a bill that would provide $425 million in federal funds to the youth-serving organization.

The Washington Post reports that Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Kyl of Arizona, and John Cornyn of Texas, have written to the charity’s board of governors asking for more information about the compensation package. The four also have questions about some $6.5 million in travel and lobbying expenses and how the national group makes grants to local clubs.

Adding to the senators’ ire is the fact the Boys & Girls Clubs, which receives nearly 40 percent of its revenue from the federal government, posted a $13 million loss in 2008. In their letter, the senators wrote, “We find it hard to reconcile this loss given the amount spent on executive salaries, perks and lobbying expenses. We are especially concerned because it is our understanding that some independent clubs have closed or are on the cusp of closing because of a lack of funding.”

The Boys & Girls Club issued a statement last week that said Spillett was paid $360,774 in base salary in 2008 and a $150,000 incentive and nearly $478,000 in benefits, expenses and contributions to a deferred retirement plan. According to Charity Navigator, which tracks on its Web site how much nonprofit CEOs earn, compensation for executives at nonprofits with more than $100 million dollars in annual revenue averages $460,000, including deferred compensation.

“When you have someone who is making double that amount it defies logic. It damages the public trust,” said Ken Berger, Charity Navigator’s president and CEO. The Associated Press also quoted Berger saying: “The people who use our site, donors, would be appalled by a salary like this. If you want to be a millionaire, go and work in the for-profit sector.”  Clearly, the actions of the Boys & Girls Clubs show that they think their CEO is worth a private sector salary, even if a group of angry senators don’t.—Bruce Trachtenberg