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One More Thing About the Salary Survey

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Sagi Balasha wants you to know that he makes more than you may think. In fact, twice as much.

The CEO of the Israeli-American Council is listed in the latest Forward salary survey as earning only $93,900 a year, making him the second most underpaid on our annual list of executives of national Jewish charities.

Turns out that his actual salary is $191,000. And therein lies a lesson.

The Israeli-American Council is a newcomer to our annual survey; we added it to our list of prominent national nonprofits because it is growing rapidly in size and influence. Perhaps that’s why the IAC didn’t quite understand the importance and urgency of answering the many phone calls and emails from the Forward seeking to verify the information it had filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

That information, on something called the Form 990, is the basis of our reporting for this complex project. But we only start there. A certain lag time is allowed for nonprofits to publicly report their salaries and other budgetary information, which they are required to do as tax exempt organizations. Since we try to present the most up-to-date information, we reach out to every one of the organizations on our list at least a month before our deadline.

The IAC initially verified the lower salary, which dated back to 2012, when the organization was much smaller. IAC officials contacted us with the higher 2013 salary only thirty minutes before our print deadline last week. And we can’t just stop the presses. Our data was already extensively analyzed by our partners at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, so to add another nearly $100,000 to someone’s salary would have thrown off all the calculations and required many, many hours of adjustment, something I simply could not do.

The leaders of a few other organizations tell us they are upset because a new CEO is sometimes listed with his or her predecessor’s salary. (That happened this year here and here and here.) Again, that is legal according to the IRS, given the allowable lag time, but there’s an easy way to avoid such confusion for our readers. Give us the most up-to-date information and we’ll publish it.

The Forward can only get this right if the charities themselves give us the right information. So we hope that next year, with the help of these organizations, we’ll be able to present an even more accurate picture of CEO compensation.

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