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October 27, 2020

Executive Compensation at the Florida Education Association (FEA)

by Anne Paddock

The Florida Education Association (FEA) is a labor union representing about 150,000 teachers and education employees in Florida. Based in Tallahassee, Florida, FEA is the largest union (measured by members) in the State of Florida and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the national labor unions: American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association  (NEA), which means that membership in a local union (there are about 100) in Florida ensures membership in the FEA, AFT, and NEA.  However, Florida is a right-to-work state so public education employees are not required to join a union.

Membership dues vary but appear to be about $200 annually (based on membership dues reported ($29 million) divided by members (150,000).

Governed by 15 voting members, 12 of whom are independent, the FEA has three leadership groups within the organization:

  • Delegate Assembly:  locally elected delegates responsible for organization policy
  • Governance Board:  162 members that includes local presidents and other members to ensure equitable representation by membership size and ethnicity, who meet quarterly to address issues in pubic education
  • Executive Cabinet:  15 members elected by the Governance Board, the Executive Cabinet meets monthly with officers and FEA managers to ensure adequate representation

In 2018, FEA reported total revenue of $33 million (compared to $31 million the prior year), of which $29 million (94%) were membership dues.  Expenses totaled $29 million, of which $13 million was spent on compensation for the 84 employees who received an average compensation of $155,000.  However, only 34 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 10 most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $310,023:  Andrew Ford, Past President, OFS Manager
  • $292,262:  Joanne McCall, President
  • $264,850:  Fedrick Ingram, Vice President
  • $254,773:  Luke Flynt, Treasurer/Secretary
  • $217,835:  Anthony Roeder, Director of IT
  • $216,080:  Martin Powell, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • $214,020:  Amber Swords, Director of Financial Services
  • $190,201:  Jeffrey Wright, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • $151,294:  Martin Schaap, Chief of Staff
  • $134,733:  Brian Phillips, Director of Organizing and Field Services

The 10 most highly compensated employees received $2.2 million in compensation.  If total compensation and the employee count are adjusted to exclude the 10 most highly compensated employees and their total compensation, then 74 employees received about $11 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $149,000. However, only 24 (34-10) of these employees received more than $100,000 (but less than $134,733 or they would be on the list above).  If these 24 employees received $130,000 in compensation, then they received about $3 million collectively, leaving $8 million for the remaining 50 employees.  Because these 50 employees received less than $100,000 in compensation, there appears to be a discrepancy (50 employees multiplied by $99,999 equals about $5 million), which is not addressed on the Form 990.

The FEA paid for companion travel.  Specifically, three (3) officers are provided companion travel for three occurrences over their 3-year terms. The cost was and is treated as taxable compensation.

The FEA paid for a residence for personal use or provided a housing allowance. Specifically, three (3) officers received a housing allowance, which was treated as taxable compensation.

11 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation. The five (5) most highly compensated independent contractors were reported to be:

  • $792,892:  Meyers Brooks Demma and Blohm PA, of Tallahassee, FL for attorney fees
  • $532,380:  Herdman & Sakellarides PA, of Clearwater, FL for attorney fees
  • $378,067:  Law Office of Thomas Johnson PA, of Brandon, FL for attorney fees
  • $347,563:  Robert McKee, of Tampa, FL for attorney fees
  • $226,222:  Law Office of Levine and Stivers PA, of Tallahassee, FL for attorney fees

To read the IRS Form 990 (2017 for the year ending June 30, 2018), click here.

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