News Story

Grand Rapids Officials Approved $230k Paycheck For A Short Year

Payout to official who left under a cloud leaves unanswered questions

A Grand Rapids city official who was on administrative leave and appears to have only worked for part of the year was recently paid $230,593. Grand Rapids’ fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, and in late March, it announced that the highly paid individual was leaving the city’s employment.

Other city records suggest that the big payout for what appears to have been a short year may have been, in part, the product of a $96,566 severance agreement.

Former Utilities Director Michael Lunn’s gross pay during the city’s fiscal 2019 year was listed as $230,593. That’s according to salary information obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request to Grand Rapids. Only City Manager Mark Washington earned more that year; his gross salary was $251,588.

Grand Rapids placed Lunn on paid administrative leave on Feb. 14 and investigated him for what it called a “personnel matter,” MLive reported.

City officials haven’t said why Lunn was placed on administrative leave. But in a March 27 email, the city announced he was leaving his job.

“I want to make you aware of Mike Lunn’s decision to leave the City and start preparing for retirement,” wrote Tom Almonte, an assistant to the city manager, in a March 27 email to other city officials.

Lunn, however, did not retire. According to his LinkedIn account, he started working as chief innovation officer at Primodal Inc. less than a week after the March 27 email announcing his departure from his city job.

The city of Grand Rapids stated that Lunn's severance "was a personnel matter that resulted in both parties agreeing to a mutual separation and release agreement."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the city of Grand Rapids' response.