September 1, 2009

Executive pay at non-profits in question

Some salaries for chief executives of non-profit foreign aid corporations are out of line, the chairman of a key Senate subcommittee said.

It conflicts with most people's notion of what a non-profit organization is about when they're paying themselves salaries that are several times higher than what a U.S. Cabinet secretary would earn, said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who chairs the subcommittee that funds foreign aid, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The U.S. Agency for International Development -- USAID -- has become a check-writing agency, he said.

In 2008, USAID's inspector general criticized the American Institutes for Research and the Academy for Education and Development for overhead costs that reached $4 million on a joint program in Yemen that had a total budget of $13.5 million.

The audit also cited the program for failing to reach intended results.

Sol Pelavin, chief executive officer of American Institutes for Research was paid $1.1 million in 2007, the same year USAID awarded the corporation $269.6 million in funding, the newspaper said.

Pelavin said his salary would increase dramatically if he were to take an equivalent job out of the non-profit sector.

Stephen Moseley, president of AED, said his 2007 salary of $879,530 was in line with comparable positions.