Despite Deficit, Some Dearborn Top Officials Got Boosts in Pay
While Mayor O’Reilly’s salary stayed relatively the same — his gross income increased by $500 in 2011 from the previous year, seven top administrations saw their gross income increase by 8 percent to 12.8 percent from 2010 to 2011.
Those pay increases came when the city’s General Fund had a structural budget deficit of $8.6 million for fiscal year 2011. Not all of the city of Dearborn’s workers were as fortunate.
“When they’re pushing tax hikes, residents hear a lot from local government officials about ‘shared sacrifice,’ ” said Jack McHugh, the legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “These figures give the appearance that the sharing stops at the City Hall door.”
Some of the city's key officials saw considerable boosts in pay:
- The Director of Economic and Community Develop saw his gross pay increase from $95,667 in 2010 to $104,509 in 2011, a 9.2 percent increase.
Matthew Zalewski, an attorney for the city of Dearborn, said gross earnings included things such as mileage, annual longevity checks (yearly bonuses paid to long-time employees) as well as some employees “selling” vacation days offered in the city’s cafeteria benefit plan.
City of Dearborn employees don’t pay anything for health insurance until later this year. Two unions have filed a lawsuit to prevent Gov. Rick Snyder’s law that required public employers to pay no more than 80 percent of the annual cost of medical benefits from taking effect until their contract with their insurance companies expires at the end of June.
Mary Laundroche, spokeswoman for the city, said the top administrators are appointed positions by the mayor and are not in a union and do not receive overtime.But Laundroche said the annual raises for the appointed positions mirror any increases the union gets. So when those union contracts were settled, retroactive payments were made to the top administrators as well as the union members.
In a June 2011 letter included in the city’s budget, Mayor O’Reilly told Dearborn’s citizens, “we know the kinds of sacrifices you’ve made to weather these difficult times in your own households. Like you we’re continuing to seek cutbacks including personal sacrifices from the entire City workforce.”
Mayor O’Reilly then stated the city was raising the millage rate to the legal limit and would ask to raise that limit by putting it on the November 2011 ballot.
Editor's Note: This story was corrected to say that Dearborn Mayor John O'Reilly asked to raise the millage rate on the November 2011 ballot, not November 2012 as previously reported. Voters approved that ballot measure.
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.