Time to scrutinize high salaries paid by some charities

No one more deserves sympathy in these troubled times than the nonprofit charities struggling to survive.

In this recession, government subsidies are tight and in Illinois, the state is stiffing them. Contributions are off. Their staffs are shrinking ...

Wait, let me start again. No one more deserves sympathy in these troubled times than the clients these charities serve — the starving, sick, homeless, addicted, despairing and destitute.

I rephrased that because I'm not so sure that the various charities, nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations should escape scrutiny for how well or poorly they do their jobs. The popular assumption is that they are the epitome of goodness and kindness, so just lay off with the scrutiny stuff.

I disagree. They spend our money, whether our contributions (in cash and in kind) or our taxes. They have an obligation, to their clients and us, to operate effectively and efficiently, and not in the shadows created by cloaked financial reporting and apathetic or overly trusting boards of directors, all while blessing themselves with munificent salaries and benefits.

Continue reading on the Chicago Tribune op-ed page.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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