Florida DJJ Says Aftercare Contractors Overpaid; State May Replace Vendors with Probation Officers

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UPDATE: The Henry & Rilla White Foundation, Inc. released a response to these reports, which can be found here: Letter to The Reader Forum – Miami Herald.

With more than $1.2 million in annual benefits and salary – a majority of which stems from state tax payers – Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice says it’s time to decrease the pay of William Schossler, president of  Tallahassee’s The Henry & Rilla White Youth Foundation.

Schossler, 65, heads a nonprofit that currently holds 23 statewide juvenile justice contracts in Florida, with the foundation managing numerous residential treatment beds and funding programs that grants adolescents access to therapy and counseling after leaving state care. In total, the Henry & Rilla White Youth Foundation’s juvenile justice contracts with Florida are tallied at an estimated $10.2 million in value.

The state DJJ, however, believes that Schossler’s pay – which in 2010, consisted of almost $400,000 in salary and more than $800,000 in additional compensations – is excessive, with Florida juvenile justice chief Wansley Walters stating that the funding should go towards youth services instead.

“It was never the department’s intent that such a large share of the funding would go to compensate the top administration of your corporation instead of into direct services,” Walters is quoted by The Bradenton Herald.

“There is no way that over the past couple of years you can have the level of executive compensation rise,” she continued, “without seeing a reduction in services.”

Walters suggests that the state end its contracts with aftercare service vendors, such as the Henry & Rilla White Youth Foundation, and allow juvenile probation officers to provide state oversight instead. The move, she stated, may save the state almost $12 million in expenses.

Schossler, however, disagrees with the DJJ about his pay.

“If there’s something wrong here, I’m sure my board will fix it,” he is quoted by the Bradenton Herald. “If anything, my board thinks I’m underpaid.”

Photo courtesy of skettalee via Flickr. 

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