The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

September 14, 2010
State school board group releases severance package details

Nearly two months after the California School Boards Association faced public scrutiny over its top executive's pay, the non-profit released details Tuesday of its severance agreement with Scott Plotkin.

CSBA paid $43,000 to cut ties with Plotkin and to recognize him for "his long years of service" to the organization, according to a statement from the CSBA Board of Directors.

Plotkin retired Sept. 1 after admitting to using a company credit card to withdraw cash at area casinos while drawing a salary much higher than executive directors at similar non-profits.

Plotkin earned $307,805 in 2006; $384,462 in 2007; $516,517 in 2008; and $403,955 in 2009. Plotkin's base salary was much lower in each of those years, but his pay was inflated through bonuses and other compensation. In 2008, Plotkin received a $175,000 bonus and in 2009 he received nearly $75,000 in bonuses and other compensation.

The CSBA statement said Plotkin's base salary through September 2013 was $328,000. The statement said Plotkin's employment contract - which The Bee has asked for and was denied - included termination provisions that could have put CSBA on the hook for more than $1 million.

With the severance agreement complete, the statement said CSBA could now release its details.

"Rather than expending legal fees and contending with the further damage that a protracted legal battle could entail, the Board determined that the best course of action was to reach mutual agreement on Mr. Plotkin's separation," the statement said. "The Board is pleased that Mr. Plotkin agreed to the proposal."

The full statement is available online on CSBA's financial accountability page at http://www.csba.org

CSBA is not a government agency, but is indirectly funded by taxpayers. Much of its funding comes from membership dues and other fees paid by public school districts. CSBA employees receive pensions through the California Public Employees' Retirement System, of which Plotkin, 56, will be eligible.

Several area school boards have considered not renewing their membership after learning of Plotkin's pay and use of corporate credit cards.

Sacramento City Unified trustees will decide at Thursday's school board meeting as to whether the district will renew its current CSBA membership and utilize other services, which amount to $36,161 a year.

--Melody Gutierrez

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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