May 2, 2012; Source: GoLocalProv

In Rhode Island, State Rep. Patricia A. Serpa wants to pass a state law so that agencies serving people with developmental disabilities will be required to disclose all forms of compensation for top executives before contracts with the state are made. Around 40 agencies serving 3,600 people with $215 million in contracts would be affected. Sherpa says she is concerned about the clients and front line workers getting short-changed by outsized executive salaries.

Nonprofits serving developmentally disabled people have been under serious scrutiny in multiple states over the past year, with the focus being not only on executive salaries but also on alleged misuse of funds and the building up of what some see as excessive reserves.

Rhode Island recently cut the budget for agencies serving developmentally disabled people by $24 million and last Wednesday, hundreds rallied at the state house to demand a reversal of the cut. Serpa, who has acknowledged that the information is generally available on Guidestar, has at least implied that the two issues of pay and cuts are linked by saying, “It’s unlikely that we are going to be able to restore that $24 million in its entirety this year. But we’ve sacrificed so much in this grueling economy. I’m only asking that nonprofits and agencies take a second look at how they are allocating their resources.” –Ruth McCambridge