A non-profit organization in Maine has been grabbing newspaper headlines and for all the wrong reasons. According to reports from Bangor Daily News, the agency has been paying exec-level managers six-figures while workers with disabilities get a meager hourly wage of $2-3.
St. Alban's Skills Inc. was found to be paying their working with disabilities an hourly rate that was lower than the minimum wage rate as per state legislature. Skills Inc. offers both day programming and residential facilities in Kennebec and Somerset counties to workers suffering from handicaps. Having its biggest revenue source in the state and federally funded Medicaid, Skills Inc. reported a significant revenue figure of $13.8 million in the tax year 2015.
The infamous organization believes in worker talent and capacity while deciding his/her pay scale. However, instead of plowing back of revenues it received from sources like lumber mills and thrift stores, it distributed the same amongst the high ranking officials as the bonus.
Such an incident was reported when Vernon Martin, the former mill manager, received a fat bonus of 25% of the factory's cumulative earnings between 2009 and 2013. Thus, in the tax year of 2013, the company reported negative figures of $500,000 while Martin's bank balance got a forward push.
In response to this accusation, Stephanie Johnson, the present executive director of Skills, Inc, acknowledged their past mistakes and the financial challenges their organization had to face for such unplanned decisions. However, she believes Skills, Inc has undergone vast changes since its tumultuous past. According to Johnson, who currently does not receive any revenue based bonus, the former board of directors blamed for the compensation structure. However, she also feels that to generate more employment for people suffering from disabilities, the organization had to lower the wage rate.
Neither Jack Dyer nor the other five board members handing the compensation could be reached over the phone.
Skills Inc. sold off its sawmill in the year 2016. But they never had to pay tax on the same thanks to its nonprofit status. Reports published by the U.S. Department of Labor enforcement reveal that while Skills Inc. distributed millions as a bonus, it is accused of 75 violations within the time frame of 2001 and 2016 for not adhering to the minimum wage requirement.
Since Robert Zelie purchased the sawmill in 2016, it's been working just fine along with paying its workers with disabilities the minimum wage rate, which surely is in sync with regular employees.