The Truth about the Numbers

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017

Time for factsIn an article published on Saturday 11/12/17 in the Chico Enterprise-Record there were a variety of concerns raised and accusations made regarding the Community Action Agency of Butte County and the perceived mis-management of the Esplanade House for the past 26 years.

Many of the inaccuracies reported in the article were simply not based on facts. One of these involved the salary and travel expenses of our Executive Director, Tom Tenorio. While there may be opportunities to refute many of the accusations over time, we feel it is important to correct this very specific concern with very specific facts.

Salary Concerns

The Article Stated:

“Another concern of the founders are recent increases to Tenorio’s compensation while revenues have declined.

According to CAA tax forms from 2015, Tenorio’s total compensation was $123,775. In 2013, that amount was $106,295, and in 2014 it was $102,538.

Benander said Tenorio has turned down salary increases and adjustments made were for cost of living. The founders argue that while Tenorio receives raises, the organization’s assets have declined by $1 million, as evidenced by the tax forms, and $400,000 in revenue has been lost.”

The Facts Are:

  • Prior to 2015, the benefits paid (health, retirement, etc) were not reported on the IRS 990. Starting in 2015, it was required.  The reporter mistakenly ADDED salary and paid benefits together to come up with the large increase being claimed.  An accurate comparison amount for 2015 salary paid is $107,294. 

Travel Concerns

The Article Stated:

“Conference, conventions and meeting expenses for the CAA have gone from $12,029 in 2013 to $24,583 in 2014 and $29,091 in 2015. Travel was $48,175 in 2013, $31,706 in 2014 and $169,818 in 2015.”

The Facts Are:

The actual travel for 2015 was $25,235.92. The $157k reported on the 990 includes ALL vehicle expenses (approx. $132k), as well as event and meeting travel. The way these expenses are reported was required to be changed. The 990 for 2016 also shows travel and vehicle expense combined, and 2017 will be similar.

To quickly summarize everything in the 2015 “travel” line as reported on the 990:

  • Vehicle purchase, lease, maintenance, repair, fuel and other operating expenses for all vehicles required to:
    • Distribute food at 47sites a week in a six-county region
    • Pick up food donations from 12 store partners
    • Pick up commodities from Fairfield
    • Perform weatherization services at over a thousand homes in a five-county area
    • Provide various offsite services, such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Continuum of Care activities
    • Transport E-House residents, supplies, weekly food donation pick ups, maintenance, etc.
    • Attend required contract meetings
    • Attend required contract trainings (ie. PG&E trainings in Stockton)
    • Attend valuable seminars, trainings, and conferences
  • Hotel, airfare, and per diem, and misc (ie. taxi & parking) costs for:
    • Attending required contract meetings
    • Attending required contract trainings (ie. PG&E trainings in Stockton)
    • Attending valuable seminars, trainings, and conferences

With the facts in place, it is easy to see that the accusations are not based on an accurate representation of the use of CAA funds, but rather a twisting of the data for the sake of some sensationalism.

It is our hope that our donors will continue to pursue the actual truth of what has been happening at The Esplanade House under CAA’s leadership, and not just believe what one party has put forward. The salary and travel accusation is just one example of how the facts can and have been twisted.

If you have specific questions, we are more than happy to have a conversation with you.