Controversial pay raises rescinded by Detroit Police and Fire Retirement Board

By Roger Weber, Local 4 Reporter, @RogerWLocal4, rogerw@wdiv.com
Published On: Jan 31 2013 05:26:17 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 01 2013 03:28:14 AM EST

The Detroit Police and Fire Retirement Board voted Thursday to rescind hefty pay raises approved last week for three top staffers.

DETROIT -

The Detroit Police and Fire Retirement Board voted Thursday to rescind hefty pay raises approved last week for three top staffers.

Last Thursday, board members voted to raise its investment analyst’s pay from $120,000 a year to $185,000. The pension system's executive director saw her pay boosted from $85,600 to $120,000. The assistant executive director's pay increased from $74,100 to $115,000.

The pay issue has long been a concern at the board, but it was not on last Thursday’s agenda. It was introduced and approved after four of Mayor Bing’s appointees left near the end of the meeting. One of them was City Treasurer and Finance Director Cheryl Johnson, who criticized the pay hikes at today’s meeting.

"To do something for them, especially with the crisis we are in, is inappropriate,” she said.

The employees are paid out of pension funds, not the city budget. Trustees in favor of the raise say the pension fund is well-managed, and the three staffers make less than their counterparts working for other pension funds.

“They are way underpaid even with the raises,” said Board Chair Matt Gnatek. “They are on the low end.”

All trustees who originally favored the raises supported them again. However, with nearly all the 16 board members present today, the raises were rescinded on a vote of nine to six.

The pension board has long operated with no rules of parliamentary procedure. Johnson is pushing for new rules prohibiting votes on items which don’t appear on the agenda.

The Police and Fire Retirement System covers about 12,000 active and retired employees.

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