I submitted a request for information to the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (FKSPCA).
Here’s what I asked for:
Please provide FKSPCA’s 2016 tax return. For the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, please provide documents which allow the taxpayers to understand which expenses they are responsible for and which expenses the charity is responsible for. Those documents should also allow the taxpayers to understand how expenses are allocated between the two shelters after the FKSPCA took over the Marathon shelter.
- 2016 Tax Return (Form 990).
- Nothing for 2013 through 2016.
- The following for 2017.
This is not what I asked for. Not only that, it raises a few more questions. Note that 100% of employment costs were allocated to the two shelter contracts. Zero was allocated to other FKSPCA priorities like fundraising or the new building.
FKSPCA spends a lot of money on fund-raising. According to their tax returns its in the neighborhood of $100,000 per year. How much time do FKSPCA employees spend on fund-raising efforts? Does zero seem reasonable? How about that new building, which has supposedly been under construction since 2016?
I would certainly think the Executive Director would spend some time on both these issues. The FKSPCA also has an employee with the title, “Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator”. Wouldn’t “special events” include fundraising events?
Here is an excerpt from Attachment A of the contract.
The following expenses are not allowable for reimbursement: capital outlay expenditures (unless specifically included in the contract), contributions, depreciation expenses (unless specifically included in the contract), entertainment expenses, fundraising, non-sufficient check charges, penalties and fines.
FKSPCA didn’t provide enough information to explain how much staff time was spent on fundraising efforts throughout the year. Presumably it’s more than zero. Is staff time being correctly allocated? Are taxpayers being forced to pay for a non-allowed expense? These are some questions generated by FKSPCA’s incomplete response.
I asked FKSPCA to provide the information that I actually requested. Oddly enough, the FKSPCA seems pretty keen on keeping the county out of the loop. Here’s another excerpt from FKSPCA’s contract.
A request to inspect or copy public records relating to a County contract must be made directly to the County, but if the County does not possess the requested records, the County shall immediately notify the Contractor of the request, and the Contractor must provide the records to the County or allow the records to be inspected or copied within a reasonable time.
I copied the county on my latest request from FKSPCA. I don’t care how they go about things, as long as I get the documents I ask for. But there’s definitely a disconnect as to how things are supposed to work. Typical sloppy management and lack of oversight from the county.
I also asked the county for audited financial statements from SUFA, SHARK and FKSPCA.
Typically, public records requests are a bit of wrestling match. The county has always been reluctant to part with information. FKSPCA seems to follow their lead. The fish stinks from the head.
As soon as I hear something so will you.