Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Board. And Furious.

Last week there was a lot of buzz in the papers and on the blogs over John Perzel's absence at the big property tax non-vote in the state house. Turns out he was off in Florida attending a corporate board meeting. Here's an excerpt from the Inky's story on it ("Perzel's absence puzzles Capitol The property tax bill unraveled as he tended to a business duty," by Mario F. Cattabiani, May 5, 2006):

Perzel (R., Phila.) was in Florida, preparing for an entirely different kind of vote.

He was attending corporate meetings of GEO Group Inc., the Boca Raton company of which he is a board member.

At yesterday's annual meeting at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, where Perzel was staying, shareholders of the publicly traded company voted to give him another term on the board. The job pays $20,000 a year, plus stock options and thousands of dollars more to attend meetings - including about $5,000 to attend this week's.

One repeated defense of the ill-fated pay raise was that you had to pay more to get good people. One rationale for paying corporate board members additional money to show up for the meetings of the boards they are paid to be on, is that you have to do that to get good people. That just makes me furious. Isn't that saying that the "good" people you are paying $20K to be on the board have to be bribed with additional money to show up for work?

Like a lot of people involved in their community, I sit on the board of a small local organization. I'm trying to get off of it in case the blog explodes one of these days (I don't want the group to be caught in the debris). I get no money to be on the board and nothing to show up for board meetings. There are tons of people out there who serve on local boards and they show up for meetings and do their job for absolutely nothing. Aren't we "good people," too?

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