The Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA) just received a humongous windfall from the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) courtesy of the taxpayers. Since these folks are so eager to dig around in our pockets, I think it’s only fair to dig around in theirs, too.
Courtesy of Guidestar.org, here are FKSPCA’s tax returns for 2013, 2014 and 2015. A while back, I took a look at their 2013 tax return as compared to SHARK and HACC, the two other animal shelter operators in the Keys at the time. FKSPCA actually compared favorably to the other two, but that’s not saying much. SHARK was a disaster. After being foisted upon the taxpayers by the BOCC, they collapsed after a couple of years. The hell of it is that the BOCC bullied a competent, efficient and successful operator (SUFA) out of the way to make room for SHARK. HACC had an astronomically high kill rate that they couldn’t even begin to get their arms around. They literally had no idea what to do about it, and adamantly refused to consider strategies that have been used successfully elsewhere. Sadly, that is still the case today.
Now with this recent RFP, FKSPCA’s price to run the Marathon shelter has sky-rocketed from $249,000 per year to $425,000 per year – a huge $175,000 jump. What’s behind that? The county has no answers. Other than insisting that their advertisement of the RFP barely met minimal legal requirements, they don’t have much to say.
Looking at the tax returns indicates that employee compensation has increased by 35% between 2013 and 2015. It’s not clear if that is because the FKSPCA added additional employees or because they’ve increased compensation across the board. Or both. Executive Director, Tammy Fox, has seen her compensation increase by 38%.
Here are a few other things I’d like to take a look at.
- FKSPCA’s 2016 tax return.
- The taxpayers’ contribution.
- How many employees have they added? (FKSPCA has not reported the total number of employees since 2013. Why did they stop reporting that?)
- What is the compensation of those employees?
- The tax returns claim that the Executive Director’s compensation is reviewed by the Board and part of that review includes a comparison to other organizations. I’d like to get a look at those documents…if they exist.
- Who is designing the new building? And what are they being paid?
- Who is the building contractor? And what are they being paid?
- What is the cost per square foot of the new building? And how does that compare to the cost of other new construction in the Keys?
There’s a tax money hemorrhage somewhere and I’d really like to find it. The huge 70% price increase is very suspicious on its own, especially when you consider the limited advertising and the fact that only one, seemingly inflated bid, was received.
Taxpayer funds are being commingled with the funds of a private charity for the purposes of the new building. That would seem to present an opportunity to kick up dust to cover where that money is actually going. When you add the county’s shady handling of animal control in the past, there’s plenty of reason to be concerned. FKSPCA was able to partially address some of my initial concerns about the building, but this RFP raises those issues again and presents some new ones.
Here’s a spreadsheet I put together. Many information requests to come.
Find out more by following Margaret Blank at her blog: https://therealpoop.org/