So I finally got in touch with the mayor’s spokesman, Fred Sainz, to talk about the story we ran today on SEDC officials receiving tens of thousands of dollars a year in hidden bonuses and extra compensation.
I had called Sainz and other spokespeople at the Mayor’s Office several times before running the story, but didn’t hear back from anyone.
Sainz told me the mayor has seen the story and that, if everything I turned up is correct, the findings about SEDC are “very troubling.”
Sainz said the mayor will send a memo to the chairman of SEDC’s board today asking him to respond to one of the story’s main thrusts: That the SEDC board had no knowledge of the bonus payments, and that SEDC’s president, Carolyn Smith, was essentially allowed to determine how much her own bonuses would be. (SEDC’s board chairman, Artie M. “Chip” Owen, has found himself in the middle of some SEDC controversy himself lately as well.)
I plan to get a copy of that memo.
Sainz explained why the mayor is concerned about the story, with the caveat that he hasn’t yet spoken to the SEDC board.
“If this is, in fact, correct, it is violating any kind of internal control system for one to be able to approve their own bonus, and that’s what this comes down to, not a raise or benefits of cost-of-living increase, but a bonus,” Sainz said.