“Whoop-de-do” in Waterbury, CT

Here is the latest installment of the controversy we have been following in Waterbury, CT where the International Institute of CT has been criticized for not caring for Burmese refugees. 

We don’t get enough money to do a good job is the whining response from officials including the President, Lavinia Limon,  of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) the government contractor that passes funds down to its Connecticut subcontractor.

This is what Limon told the Republican-American reporter:

The government provides a one-time $850 per person stipend to resettlement agencies. Of that, half must be used for the refugees, and half for administrative costs. In 1975, that figure was $500. “Whoop-de-do,” said Lavinia Limón, president of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. “God help us if our salaries had not kept pace with inflation like that. The capacity of agencies like (the institute) has been severely curtailed. I would really criticize that.”

You can be sure these volags get more funds in addition to the half of $850 for their “administration” and just so readers aren’t mislead and think that these are poor struggling outfits, a little check of USCRI’s 2006 Form 990 reveals the following:

USCRI’s gross income was $18,352,000.   $16,905,312 was from government grants (that’s you the taxpayer) while another $675,868 included government contracts.

Total compensation of officers was $358,587 and other salaries were $2,966,521.  Other pension, payroll and employee benefits amounted to around $809,000.  Rent was $572,367.  Travel $213,680.  Conferences and meetings $168,559.  You get the picture.  You are paying for all this and they complain that it is too little to do a good job caring for refugees.

And as far as Ms. Limon’s “whoop-de-do” comment regarding salaries.  Yes indeed, she didn’t have to worry about her salary which comes out of this same government pot of cash.  In 2006 her salary and other compensation was $195,478.  That is up about $20,000 from the previous couple of years.

Oh, I almost forgot,  they also said they spent $1,000,000 for lobbying.  I guess that was for more refugees and more money.

In defense of Ms. Limon, her salary isn’t as large as another of her peers.  The President of the International Rescue Committee (another of the top ten motherships), George Rupp, received according to Guidestar in excess of $325,000 in salary and compensation in 2005.   But, of course his volag was receiving over $88,000,000 from the taxpayers.

Here is my fix!  US State Department take a smaller number of refugees and be sure each family or family unit has a church or other such group sponsoring them, caring for them, and helping them assimilate and cut these refugee industry middlemen out!

12 thoughts on ““Whoop-de-do” in Waterbury, CT

  1. I’ll work on specifics to answer infinicat’s question in the a.m. But, generally, here is where it gets tricky. Each of the big ten volags get their millions in government grants then pass some of it down to their subcontractors (after taking out their administrative costs). At each subcontractor level there is a whole layer of additional administrative costs for salaries, office space, telephone, etc. etc.

    They would argue that all those administrative costs esp. at the local level aid refugees by providing them with caseworkers etc. A very tiny fraction of this money actually goes to the refugee for such things as rent.

    And, by the way, expenses for things like ESL lessons often come from separate grants through state agencies (more salaries and administrative costs) who then give grants to local junior colleges and other organizations to do the lessons.


  2. So…I’m curious…out of that $16.9 m., what % ends up aiding the refugees as opposed to administrative costs?

    — Infinicat


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