NIAGARA FALLS - Until she was placed on administrative leave, most people probably did not know Niagara Falls Housing Authority executive director Stephanie Cowart was being paid a salary of $140,000. And she continues to collect her pay away from work amidst a federal investigation of the agency with Cowart apparent at the center of the probe.
But that's not all.
Cowart's employment contract with the agency calls for bonuses for "extraordinary achievements". And it appears that in the eyes of the authority's board of commissioners, Cowart has been extraordinary on a nearly annual basis.
2 On-Your-Side has obtained data on bonuses paid to Cowart. Documents show except for last year, the board voted to give Cowart a bonus each year since 2008. The bonuses total $48,000. Those are in addition to her annual salary.
Coward has already collected a $7,000 bonus this year. Coupled with her salary her total compensation at year's end should be $147,000, close to cap set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD regulations sets a max salary of $157,100 for any public housing employee paid with federal funds.