Dayton Development Coalition is out of touch

First order of business at every municipality in the region today: demand an audit and a refund from the Dayton Development Coalition.

While every single community has been asking employees for concessions, laying off staff, not filling positions and cutting budgets- the Dayton Development Coalition continues to behave like Wall Street bankers- drinking champagne and eating caviar while being handed our tax dollars. They are going to give themselves raises of 5% to 24% on their already overly inflated salaries.

We may not be able to do squat about Wall Street- but, we can take a close look at these overpaid lobbyists who get to set their own compensation rates. Considering the size of their organization-  and the level of responsibility, none of our public administrators want to cut the umbilical cord because they are all eying one of those positions as their next step- like Vandalia City Manager Jeff Hoagland who is about to shed responsibility and get a huge pay raise by joining the Coalition.

The Mayor of Kettering was taken care of by the coalition for years- through a job for his wife. She was paid well while the DDC handed out huge amounts of cash to Congressman Turner’s wife and her firm “The Turner Effect” on a no-bid contract for the universally panned “Get Midwest” branding campaign. She was replaced by a former TV civic affairs reporter who needed a job- and had one of “The league of extraordinary gentle women” lobbying for her.

Please note- Jim Leftwich has a base salary of $257,000 which is $107K more than Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan, and about $60K more than Montgomery County Administrator Deborah “Not me” Feldman, both of whom oversee several thousand employees and budgets in excess of $500 million. With a 24% bonus- $59,280 more, he’s bringing in $318,680.

From the DDN:

The Dayton Development Coalition plans to hand out thousands of dollars in year-end bonuses to all its employees…

Jim Leftwich, president of the nonprofit, said the bonuses range from 5 percent for lower-level staff to 24 percent for senior staff. With a base salary of $257,000, Leftwich is the coalition’s highest-paid staffer and tops all other economic development CEOs in the region.

The coalition would not release individual bonus amounts. But based on the percentages it did release — and compensation figures outlined in past years’ tax documents — the amount of money is substantial. Leftwich’s predecessor, John P. Nauseef, had a base salary of $152,000 with $111,000 in additional bonus and incentive compensation, according to the group’s 2008 IRS tax form. Three other executives that year, including Leftwich, received a combined $146,000 in incentives and bonuses.

“There are a number of different ways people are compensated and one of those ways is through a bonus,” Leftwich said. “All of our performance bonuses are paid from non-public sector money.”

Although the coalition is not a government agency, it does receive public money. Local governments contribute about $500,000 annually to the coalition’s $3.5 million operating budget, with the largest public contribution coming from Montgomery County ($250,000). The coalition also received $15 million from the state government in Third Frontier money that it says has generated nearly $53 million in economic growth since November 2007.

Leftwich said his employees also received bonuses last year.

via Dayton economic group hands out big bonuses.

And because the Dayton Daily News is run by morons- and they refuse to write long stories- instead breaking them up into idiot-sized articles- we have to go to a different article to see what the DDC claims are its bonus-earning achievements:

In its 2009 annual report, the nonprofit coalition said it generated a $133 return for every dollar invested through the last five years, helping the area gain or retain nearly 14,000 jobs in that period. A majority of those were related to Wright-Patterson.

Please note, the proving of “retaining jobs” is like taking credit for the sun coming up tomorrow. In terms of lobbying for Wright Patterson AFB – isn’t that what we pay another suit–our congressman to do? Mike Turner is our savior on WPAFB, we’ve been told over and over- and yet, he only makes $178K a year as a member of Congress. Please note, the governor of Ohio makes less than even the Montgomery County Administrator- with a paycheck around $150K a year.

The coalition bills itself as an economic development and advocacy organization for the whole region, but has long seen its core mission as supporting Wright-Patt.

The base, thanks to the Base Realignment and Closure relocation process, is growing jobs. Wright-Patterson currently employs about 27,000 people. Through BRAC, the base expects to gain 1,200 jobs by September 2011.

And while it’s nice to take credit for BRAC, for the DDC to claim that its performance is worth a 24% bonus sure says that our elected representatives and paid government employees are totally incompetent at doing any kind of lobbying on our behalf. How can this be?

As part of its efforts to boost defense-related jobs, the coalition said it is using $15 million from the state of Ohio in Third Frontier funds to help nurture business start-ups with a strong tie to Wright-Patterson and the newly established aerospace innovation hub in Dayton. According to the coalition, $10 million in Third Frontier funds have gone to about 40 companies and created 241 new jobs with an average salary of $51,658.

via Group says bonuses tied to job growth around Wright-Patterson.

And this is the final proof that the Coalition is smoke and mirrors and a slush fund for “public private” money to be disbursed to friends and family- see my flow chart from 2008. Take a look at the posts about “The Turner Effect” and see how your tax dollars were spent no-bid by this organization. But- let’s look at the numbers- $10 million to create 241 jobs- $41,493 per job- that will average $51,658- with subsidies like that, anyone can “create jobs.”

It’s time to ask for our money back. It’s time to create an honest economic development program regionally- that consolidates economic development efforts and stops internecine battles for table scraps.

Maybe a better way to do economic development is to take all this money and just remove permit fees and to speed processes – so that we don’t have to read stories like the Ghostlight Coffee shop story I posted yesterday. And before we pay bonuses to these stuffed suits from the Coalition- let’s look at paying our City Managers bonuses based on growing the tax base, raising average household income and delivering public services for less. That our city manager makes so much less than Mr. Leftwich is an insult to the people who take real responsibility for tax dollars- instead of getting to play with it like monopoly money.

Which organization is going to ask for its money back first?

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10 Responses

  1. GR8 N CR8N December 13, 2010 / 9:23 am
    Interesting interpretation of the truth!!! You operate in half truths which makes YOU WORSE than ANY of these people on this blog that you write about.

    go here http://www.getmidwest.com/aboutUs/publicMembership.cfm?sectionID=au&subNavID=3

    and then go here http://www.getmidwest.com/2009/annual_report/recruitingBusiness.php

    when I do the math, my numbers show it to be around $450 per job. Do you need help with the math? Why don’t you give it up with the DDC. The fact is, they are the ONLY group in the Region that is doing ANYTHING. Too bad you have a thing for Turner and his wife. LET IT GO!! You will never win. EVER.

    Also, where are the tax documents I asked for MONTHS ago? You must be involved in a conspiracy to screw Ghostlight Coffee out of their permits and zoning—otherwise you would have produced them.

    Stop hiding in the shadows Mr. Esrati.

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  2. truddick December 13, 2010 / 9:50 am
    I think we should thank future governor Kasich for posting here (under the name GR8 N CR8TN
    Not Kasich?  But the tone is so authentic–next he’ll be demanding that Esrati take out full-page ads in DDN, City Paper, Oakwood Register and Business Journal apologizing to DDC for saying mean things about them.

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  3. djw December 13, 2010 / 11:16 am
    when I do the math, my numbers show it to be around $450 per job.

    That would indeed be impressive. I humbly submit that if jobs could actually be created for $450 dollars, this region’s economic woes could have been eliminated quite easily, many years ago.

    Care to show your work?

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  4. Stephen Lahanas December 14, 2010 / 6:42 pm
    It is very difficult to determine whether the Dayton area would have been able to gain all of those BRAC jobs without the DDC – however, WPAFB was in fact always a front runner for most of those jobs anyway.
    The real test for any economic development organization I think must be the amount of private industry attracted or new businesses started in the region and in that context it doesn’t seem as though the DDC has been particularly effective (when compared with economic activity in Northern Cincinnati or the outskirts of Columbus).
    The other problem with focusing solely on WPAFB is that we are becoming more or less dependent on one industry – an industry which is likely to be cut back very soon (the new Deficit Commission is recommending $100 billion or more in DoD cuts are proposed each year on top of cuts already announced this year). And individual programs such as ECSS and DEAMS may be cut next year – resulting in 1,000 job losses…
    David is right, we need an entirely new type of Economic Development organization – one focused on attracting capital rather than federal lobbying which just seems to be redundant to capabilities we already had.
     

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  5. David Esrati December 18, 2010 / 4:57 pm

    Follow up in DDN on the original story:

    The Dayton Daily News first reported this story on Sunday and incorrectly listed Leftwich’s 2009 base salary as $257,000. That figure includes his total compensation, including bonus, for 2009. Leftwich said his organization is still going through the evaluation process to determine 2010 bonuses…

    Leftwich has refused to release staff salaries and bonuses of all employees for previous years, a move that has frustrated some elected officials of cash-strapped governments.

    “I think the key for us is the city is going through really tough times and asking our employees to do things like take furlough days and wage freezes, and the coalition has to have transparency of what they are paying their folks to be true partners with us,” Dayton Commissioner Nan Whaley said. “I am going to think really hard on reconsidering what we give if they don’t disclose salaries.”

    Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell and commissioners voluntarily agreed recently to take pay cuts as the city worked to cut its operating budget by $5 million.

    Leitzell said there will be discussions about the city’s contribution, adding “at a minimum, we will want further clarification and confirmation that public money is indeed not used for any of the compensation or salary payments.”…

    The coalition is also using $15 million in Ohio Third Frontier funds to boost defense-related jobs with the hope some will end up in Dayton’s Aerospace Hub….

    Clark County Commissioner John Detrick said …

    “I personally wouldn’t give any bonuses, but if you want to fly with eagles, you need to act like an eagle,” Detrick said. “They feel it was justified to give out bonuses and I have no information to prove they were wrong to do so.”

    Clark County contributed $5,000 to the coalition this year, officials said.

    Clark County Commissioner David Hartley said he would not “give them any money at all if it were up to me.”

    Commissioners in Greene County, which contributed $25,000 this year, said they want to hear what the coalition has to say and haven’t discussed next year’s contribution.

    “I will say I do support the good work they do,” Commissioner Alan Anderson said.

    via Leaders question coalition bonuses in rough economy.

    There are actually two stories- and if you wonder why Dan Foley almost lost his re-election- see the end of this quote:

    Elected officials said they cannot justify contributing to the coalition if it refuses to make public its employee compensation, while local cities and counties are cutting services, increasing fees, and forcing employees to take wage freezes.

    “We certainly need to take a serious look at how much we give them,” Dayton City Commissioner Dean Lovelace said. “We might spend the money elsewhere.”

    Coalition CEO Jim Leftwich said bonus compensation is part of an employee’s salary package and any bonuses are paid from private contributions. He has refused to release salaries and other compensation paid to the coalition’s 19 employees.

    Dayton contributes $50,000 to the coalition, while Montgomery County gives $250,000, the most of any government in the region. In total, the coalition receives about $500,000 of its $3.5 million operating budget from public groups, Leftwich said.

    Leftwich said through e-mail Friday the coalition works hard to earn the trust of its members and will “continue to reach out” to them. He was not available by phone Friday, his spokeswoman, Sharon Howard, said.

    Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley reaffirmed his support of the coalition and said there are no plans to adjust the county’s contribution.

    “I’m OK with the overall value we’ve received,” he said.

    via Officials?to review coalition’s funding.

    And we can always count on Dean Lovelace to tell you exactly where he stands… sort of.

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  6. Semaj January 26, 2011 / 4:59 pm
    All you do is tear down, tear down, tear down.  What have you ever built up?  Instead of criticizing the economic infrastructure you have, why don’t you support and help guide their activities by constructive participation?  If you can do better, do it!  Otherwise, quit whining.  Geez!

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  7. David Esrati January 26, 2011 / 9:16 pm

    @Semaj- there are better ways to do things- like open bidding processes- and not handing out money to Congressman’s wives.

    In fact- there are all kinds of legal issues here- accepting public money- then hiring and paying lobbyists- but, of course, you don’t want to look at what’s legal- you just want to point out that it’s my fault for asking questions.

    Transparency is one issue- the other is- aren’t our elected representatives supposed to represent us? Why should the people be hiring lobbyists? Care to answer?

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  8. Greg Hunter January 27, 2011 / 9:13 am
    All you do is tear down, tear down, tear down.  What have you ever built up?  Instead of criticizing the economic infrastructure you have, why don’t you support and help guide their activities by constructive participation?  If you can do better, do it!  Otherwise, quit whining.  Geez!

    These organizations DDC and the Chamber will not tolerate discussion or dissent.  The people involved have been conditioned to respond in mass, like lemmings or parishioners at a catholic mass.  They are the experts and even though their predictions have turned out incorrect they are still in charge because in essence they own the government.  So whether it be banking or the military connections they have not had to pay for their mistakes so they are still in power.  I know it requires thought to connect the dots, but they are in place.  Kasich is a failed investment banker and became Governor.  How does that happen?  He should have been vilified and run out but Bush AND Obama bailed out banking.   They also bailed out GM, not to save workers, but to save the Stock and send more jobs to China which benefits Wall Street.

    This has been a jobless recovery as have all of the recoveries from recession since the Free Trade Acts were passed without any LABOR or Environmental protections.  Follow the money and connect the DOTS – WHO BENEFITED?  WALL STREET with the help of their lapdogs in Congress and Cox News Media.  We get what we deserve by focusing on bread and circuses.

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  9. Semaj January 27, 2011 / 12:31 pm
    David & Greg,

    One definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing but to expect different results.  I see no results from your efforts on here, but you have been preaching this stuff for years.  Even if your ideas and “connected dots” are correct, have you ever thought of changing your caustic approach?  Why would anyone in power ever want to have dialogue with you if this is the way you communicate?  Working “with” others doesn’t mean agreeing with them, but does require people skills that don’t include such caustic attacks.

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  10. Greg Hunter January 28, 2011 / 10:40 am
    Why would anyone in power ever want to have dialogue with you if this is the way you communicate?  Working “with” others doesn’t mean agreeing with them, but does require people skills that don’t include such caustic attacks.

    People in power stay in power by squashing dissent.  I have tried a non caustic approach albeit it is hard for me as the problems and solutions seem very evident but  those in power appear “not to get it” or obfuscate with glowing sounding rational.  Semaj it would be nice if you would hold our leadership to the same accountability as you do to David and I.  I can attest that they will speak of none of the issues we discuss nor will they go on record.  It would be against their best interest to discuss actual issues. Those in power have absolutely ruined this country, while you discuss our civility.

    I have really given up at a certain level and will extract from the empire what I may as those in power have extracted and exploited most those they were entrusted to protect.   I will wait for the moment when people finally figure it out, but my fears have already been realized as it is much too late.  Good Luck James|semaJ

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