CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nonprofit groups' federal tax returns are public and those returns must list the compensation received by top employees. Today's column looks at pay reported by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber's return for the Nov. 1, 2008, to Oct. 31, 2009, period shows President Steve Roberts' total compensation was $223,190. Thomas Conaty was paid $169,624; Brenda Harper, $126,226; and Tom Boggs, $85,559.
In addition, BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co.'s return shows Roberts received $20,000 that year for serving on BrickStreet's Board of Directors.
Which bring up an important point: A nonprofit group must list the pay of its top earners and any pay they receive from related organizations. But if a person gets money from an unaffiliated entity, it doesn't show up on the nonprofit's return.
I only knew to look for Roberts' pay as a BrickStreet director because I've been reporting about BrickStreet since its creation.
Roberts emailed last week to ask if I might be writing about his compensation today. He said that if I intended to do so, he had some thoughts he would like to share. When I called around noon on Thursday, Roberts said he was having lobster for lunch.
The guy does have a sense of humor.
After the joke he said: "My view is to be completely transparent about this."
Roberts said he has a background in human resources; he chairs BrickStreet's Compensation Committee (the panel that guides BrickStreet's directors on pay matters); and "we (at the chamber) do a fairly extensive analysis of compensation so our Board of Directors has good information from which to make good decisions."
Then he said: "I don't want to sound contentious but as regards some of the labor guys [whose pay previously appeared in this space], don't they sit on some boards also? Isn't Kenny [Perdue, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO] on the Blue Cross board?"