United Way donations help local people, not pad pockets,

"I would certainly expect a CEO of the United Way branch in a large metropolitan area to make a larger salary than someone in a small community with a small staff," said Stallsmith. "It essentially becomes comparable to the size and scope of the fund raising and support effort."

However, the salary of the former executive director at the Charlotte United Way, was, in Stallsmith's opinion, "absurd."

"The person who took over the position with a lower salary appeared to be in the proper compensation range given the responsibilities," he said, adding however, there may be significant details not given to the CBS reporter that provided "some justification for how she was compensated."

"On the surface, it certainly sends a very poor message and I am sure in Charlotte, many United Way donors are seeking answers to their questions," he said.

The North Country, said Stallsmith, is fortunate to have a group of local community leaders who "understand what it means to serve, what the expectations are and the responsibilities associated." "The people that I have met on the charitable boards in the North Country take their role very seriously and they do so with a very high sense of ethics and integrity," he said. "Just because one thing occurred at one district, states away, does not make it a common practice nor should it paint a broad picture of United Way in general."

Bernardi agreed, adding the report has "created obvious concerns."

"The idea, from our standpoint, is to let people know that we're very healthy and our salaries are in line with other human service providers in the region. Nobody on the staff is getting a huge salary or bonuses or anything of that nature," said Bernardi, who disclosed the combined annual salary for himself and two other employees of the local organization is approximately $140,000.

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