Compass: No Decision on CEO Yet

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Julie Seaver (left), with Tony Plakas.

No decision has been made on who will fill the spot of Tony Plakas, the former CEO of Compass. 

“At this week's board meeting, the board discussed their plan to permanently fill the role of Executive Director,” said Claudia Harrison, Chief Information Officer. “A statement outlining that plan will be released by the president of our board in the near future.” 

Despite the board being ready to hire a new CEO, many questions still remain about the abrupt departure of the previous CEO. 

And so far the Compass board has been tight-lipped over the matter. 

Last week SFGN requested an interview with a board member to discuss Plakas’ departure. 

“I have a board full of CPA's and Auditors that are in the middle of their busiest time of year and the board's process is on their timetable and not the public or SFGN's timetable,” Executive Director Julie Seaver said.

Except that’s not true.

A CPA’s license is public record in Florida and easily verifiable. Only one of the six board members listed on Compass’ website holds a CPA license. That person is Kerensa Butler-Gile. The other ones, Michael Grattendick, Marc Pickering, Michael Woods, Nicole Leidesdorf Marulli, and Clarence Brooks are not CPAs in Florida. In fact, last year SFGN profiled Woods, who stated he’s a teacher at Santaluces High School, while in another story Grattendick stated he is the Chief Financial Officer of Aurora Diagnostics. 

Compass spent most of 2017 celebrating Plakas’ 20 years with the organization. But when he left there was no announcement. Instead it appears it was kept under wraps. Their website wasn’t updated for weeks after SFGN learned Plakas had left. It’s unclear when his last day was. 

According to Florida’s Department of Corporations, though, Compass filled out their annual report on January 3 listing Seaver as its executive director and registered agent. The last one that was filled out was on April 20, 2017 where Plakas was still listed as the CEO and registered agent. 

“Basically, he and the board decided to end his contract. It was a little unexpected, but I’m excited,” Seaver previously said. 

SFGN interviewed Seaver in early January and asked her why, if it was a mutual parting of the ways, there appeared to be such secrecy surrounding Plakas’ departure. Specifically, SFGN asked why a joint statement wasn't released. 

Seaver said it was a great idea and she would love to do that, but that was up to the board and she didn’t know why they weren’t saying anything. 

As mentioned above the Compass board still has not responded to SFGN’s request for an interview. 

Someone familiar with the organization, who asked not to have his name published, stated he thought Plakas’ salary was too high compared to other non-profit organizations. 

According to the latest tax documents, which are now downloadable on Compass’ website, Plakas earned $126,135 in 2016 and $126,000 in 2015. In previous years, his salary was lower. In other years, it was higher. In 2009, it was $90,857. In 2012, it was $142,830. In 2013, it was $112,000. In 2014, it was $130,500.

“This was a topic that was brought up,” Seaver previously stated. She said Plakas’ salary was commensurate with directors of other LGBT organizations. She said that a lot of work and responsibility goes into the CEO position. “Fiduciary oversight is an extreme responsibility and they take that responsibility very seriously.”

Plakas has declined to comment since he left the organization. 

UPDATE on May 2: Recently Compass informed SFGN one of thier statements in this story was taken out of context. "The way [Julie Seaver] was quoted in the article made it sound as if she were excited about Tony’s leaving, which was not the case." We regret any confusion. 


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