News Story

Union President Heads List of Highly Paid Flint Employees

A water department staffer, he gets $155k, including $20k to ‘standby’

The president of a city union is Flint’s highest-paid employee, collecting an average of $155,000 in both 2016 and 2017. His annual pay was more than double the amount of the base pay due to on-call pay and other union-negotiated perks granted by city officials, as well as overtime.

Donald Lewis is the president of the AFSCME Council 25, Local 1799, which represents Flint supervisors and managers. The city lists him as an employee of the Water Pollution Control Operations Supervisors.

Lewis collected gross pay of $161,065 in 2016. The sum included $50,606 in overtime, $19,948 in “standby” time – defined by the union contract as being on call while at home – and another $14,906 for union business. He also collected $6,357 in paid leave time. His base salary was $65,035 in 2016.

In 2017, Lewis collected $148,979 in gross pay, making him the city’s highest-paid employee. The amount included $43,552 in overtime, $7,467 in paid leave time, $14,322 for union business and $19,948 for standby time.

Lewis’ base salary in 2017 was $57,226.

According to the terms of the contract negotiated with the city by the union he heads, Lewis would have had to work an average of 73 hours a week to collect the amount he was paid in 2017.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver made $91,801 in 2017.

City of Flint Public Information Officer Candice Mushatt didn’t return multiple emails seeking information on Lewis.

Information for this story was obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests sent to the city. is a non-profit that collects salary information on public sector employees all across the nation. also puts in open records requests to municipalities every year and then posts the salary information.

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.