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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