Critics blast Boy Scouts for CEO's $1 million compensation

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on May 26, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 26 at 11:26 PM

The lessons learned by a Boy Scout can be great preparation for life. But what lessons do the Scouts' three million members and 1.2 million volunteers learn from the following?

Leaders of the Scouts, based in Irving, sometimes travel first class, have memberships at private clubs and airport clubs, and the CEO earns more than $1 million in salary and compensation.

"This is crazy. This is just crazy. First class tickets. Country clubs, Admirals Club? This is ridiculous,” said Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator, which provides independent analysis of non-profit organizations.

All charities are required to file a federal tax return that's "open to public inspection."  The Scouts' most recent report is for 2008. In it, WFAA found the Scouts' chief executive, Robert Mazzuca, was paid $1.16 million in salary and other compensation.

That's 2.5 times more than his counterpart at the Girl Scouts, who took $453,000 home.

"That is very, very, very unusual,” Berger said.

The Scouts, who responded to WFAA in writing, say that its board "engages third-party executive compensation specialists to make recommendations regarding competitive compensation arrangements for like services in other organizations."

"It's off the charts," Berger said. "The salary is off the charts in regards to their peer groups."

In addition to compensation, the organization has a $45 million art collection at its Irving headquarters, which includes a collection of Norman Rockwell paintings. And on the road, the Scouts report spending $72,000 for spouses to travel, and $69,000 on first-class travel.

The Scouts say spouses are required to attend meetings for official business, and employees traveling overseas, or with a volunteer, can upgrade to first class in order to discuss business.

There’s also a $7,500 expense for social club dues and $3,500 for memberships in the American Airlines Admirals Club.

"It's phenomenally damaging,” Berger said.

But the Scouts disagree with that assessment. "In all it does, the BSA works to accomplish its mission while practicing good stewardship of benefactors' and volunteers' gifts of time and money," the organization said in a statement.

Berger says the facts tell a different story. "It is going to damage the public's confidence that they are good stewards of the precious donations they're getting. And the precious volunteer time. And it seems almost hypocritical to the core mission of the Scouts,” he said.

Note: The interview with Charity Navigator was conducted via speakerphone by WFAA. Charity Navigator, based in New York, recorded the interview on their end.

E-mail: dschechter@wfaa.com

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