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January 23, 2022

Executive Compensation at the Florida Education Association (FEA) 2020

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 $229 annually (based on membership dues reported ($31 million) divided by members (135,000).

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 2020, FEA reported total revenue of $36 million (compared to $36 million the prior year), of which $31 million (86%) were membership dues.  Expenses totaled $30 million, of which $13 million was spent on compensation for the 75 employees who received an average compensation of $176,000.  However, only 36 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 11 most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $398,363:  Fedrick Ingram, President
  • $318,194:  Kevin Waston, Dir of Public Policy Advocacy
  • $283,927:  Andrew Spar, VP
  • $277,607:  Carole Gauronskas, Secretary/Treasurer
  • $298,411:  Martin Powell, Deputy Chief of Staff
  • $272,283:  Amber Swords, Director of Financial Services
  • $259,615:  Brian Phillips, Director of Organizing and Field Services
  • $250,517:  Anthony Roeder, Dir of Information Te
  • $225,438:  Sharon Nesvig, Director of Communications
  • $208,517:  Aurora Gonzalez, Asst Dir of Communications
  • $194,735:  Heather Tyndall-Best, Dir of HR

The 11 most highly compensated employees received $3 million in compensation.  If total compensation and the employee count are adjusted to exclude the 11 most highly compensated employees and their total compensation, then 64 employees received about $10 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $156,000. However, only 25 (36-11) of these employees received more than $100,000 (but less than $194,735 or they would be on the list above).  If these 25 employees received $190,000 in compensation, then they received about $5 million collectively, leaving $5 million for the remaining 39 employees.  Because these 39 employees received less than $100,000 in compensation, there appears to be a discrepancy (39 employees multiplied by $99,999 equals about $4 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.

The FEA paid for health or social club dues or initiation fees.

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

  • $531,532:  Meyer and Blohm PA, of Tallahassee, FL for attorney fees
  • $421,923  Herdman & Sakellarides PA, of Clearwater, FL for attorney fees
  • $416,516:  Robert McKee, of Tampa, FL for attorney fees
  • $322,536:  The New Mediafirm, Inc., of Washington, DC for advertising
  • $320,928:  Law Office of Levine and Stivers PA, of Tallahassee, FL for attorney fees

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019 for the year ending June 30, 2020), click here.

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