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At yesterday’s meeting of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.’s Personnel and Budget Committee, Carolyn Y. Smith said the agency regularly commissions compensation studies that she said would help explain SEDC’s compensation policies. The last of those studies was completed in July 2007, she said.

A copy of that “total compensation” report was distributed at the meeting. It contains no information about the various bonuses and extra compensation that was paid to SEDC employees under programs titled “acknowledgment” and “holiday bonus.”

The last page of the 66-page report, which was completed by Koff & Associates, a firm in Emeryville, Calif., does contain a table entitled “Additional Benefits Information.” The table lists information about non-salary compensation paid to employees of SEDC and other local redevelopment agencies.

The table makes a brief mention of one of the four bonus programs run by SEDC. Here’s what it says SEDC employees are eligible for under the agency’s “longevity” program:

A range is established that is tiered by the number of years an individual is employed and the actual amount is at the President’s discretion. An example, 0-1 years = $100.00, 1-3 years = $500.00, 3-5 years = up to $1,500.00 and 5+ years = up to $3,000 etc.

Those examples are far from accurate, as documents recently released from SEDC show.

In fiscal year, 2007-2008, this document shows, SEDC President Carolyn Y. Smith signed off on total incentive pay of $52,500 for herself, which was one part of the clandestine bonuses that led to her ouster. She collected the same amount the year before.

In addition, two employees who were hired in 2006 received $2,700 each in incentive pay in fiscal year 2006-2007.

In fiscal year 2007-2008, this document shows SEDC paid employees two holiday bonuses. How much an employee received depended on how long he or she had been at the agency. The ranges are larger than the examples contained in the compensation report.

According to SEDC’s document, employees with less than one year’s service received $0. Employees with between three and 11 years of service were eligible for between $100 and $2,400. Employees with more than 11 years of service but less than 15 years of service received between $3,500 and $4,500 and employees with more than 15 years of service received between $4,500 and $15,000.

I’ve put in a call to the author of the compensation report to ask why the bonuses and extra compensation weren’t detailed in the study. He hasn’t called me back yet.

WILL CARLESS

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