You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

Michael Finney to be paid $250,000 as Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO

By Nathan Bomey

Former Ann Arbor SPARK CEO Michael Finney officially becomes CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. after his appointment was approved today in Lansing, the Detroit Free Press is reporting.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MichaelFinney_Michael_Finney_MikeFinney_Mike_Finney_AnnArborSPARK_Ann_Arbor_SPARK.JPG

Michigan Economic Development Corp. CEO Michael Finney

Finney will be paid a salary of $250,000 in addition to "deferred compensation equal to 18 percent of his salary in lieu of a retirement plan," the Free Press reported.

Finney was paid $258,423 at SPARK in 2008, the most recent year in which tax documents were available. SPARK is an economic development group whose budget is composed of a mix of dollars from tax coffers, public universities, municipalities, private companies and foundations.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who co-founded SPARK and personally recruited Finney to become the first CEO of SPARK in 2005, recommended Finney to succeed Greg Main as MEDC CEO. Main was paid $200,000 to lead MEDC, a quasi public-private entity that distributes state tax incentives.

Finney was a vice president of MEDC until 2002, when he left to start an economic development group in Rochester, N.Y.

According to a recent review of salaries at economic development agencies, Finney's compensation is comparable to his colleagues throughout the rest of the state.

Here's a list of the total compensation figures of other Michigan economic development group leaders, figures that include the value of benefits and retirement compensation, as compiled from recent tax documents:

--Ron Kitchens of Kalamazoo-based Southwest Michigan First: $439,859 (2008); $417,185 (2007); $415,308 (2006).

--Birgit Klohs of Grand Rapids-based The Right Place: $282,320 (2008); $310,392 (2007); $352,151 (2006).

--Finney: $258,423 (2009); $258,720 (2007); $233,307 (2006).

--JoAnn Crary of Saginaw Future: $198,939 (2009); $156,732 (2008); $113,674 (2007).

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

I guess Snyder thinks that people will buy his argument that because the MEDC is a "quasi public/private" venture, that Mr Finney can't be counted as a "public" employee.

Steve Pierce

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

I thought Mr. Snyder was arguing for smaller government and the need to reign in bloated state employee salaries and benefits. Man, this new change in Lansing didn't even last a week. - Steve


Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 9:14 a.m.

The difference between real public employees like the people who teach our children, fight fires and keep us safe and those who are quasi public/private executives who collect six figure salaries, is that real public employees perform actual hard work instead of attending meetings, conferences, golf outings and writing checks for business associates siphoning bigger bucks from the public treasury to for profit bank accounts.

The Black Stallion3

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 : 5:06 a.m.

Face it people, this once great country is on the way down, not much you can do about it except watch it fall.

David Briegel

Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:48 p.m.

This is America. Fraud is Big Business. Fraud pays Big Bucks!!


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

Since Reagan, capitalist business ethics, some good and others merely venal, came to dominate municipal business as much as private business to the point where there is little if any difference between the two today. The people at the top get to determine what the market level for their pay is by retelling the myth of pay for performance. Highly paid bankers and CEO's? Highly paid quasi private/public official with little oversight who gets a 50g raise and a bigger chunk of public money to help his business buddies? Not much difference to me, anyway. A quote and the link. From USA Today. "Bankers say they have to pay more to retain top talent. In Morgan Stanley's annual report, it says: "In order to attract and retain qualified employees, we must compensate such employees at market levels. Typically, those levels have caused employee compensation to be our greatest expense."


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

"Who is constantly telling us little folks that to get and retain the best people you have to pay them the big bucks?" Public employees.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

A better headline would have been, Finney Moves Up to Bigger Trough in Lansing.

David Briegel

Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 7 p.m.

Just another example of the victors of the Class Warfare rubbing our noses in the dirt with their victory. Remember Hunter Thompsons play on the phrase, The "Cream" Also Rises"? THAT is your answer!! And, now that the Governor's McMansion is right here in a gated Superior Township Community, we can pay more for his security and that evil helicopter that was once a source of contention.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

typical, demonize the public sector workers who can't afford a pay cut while giving handfuls of money to those public sector workers w/ the county club memberships. I guess we should be happy it was only a $50,000 belt loosening.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:44 p.m.

Its that same old song, but with a different beat since you've been gone......


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

Out of my five nephews, one works 20 hours a week... just so these elites can pocket a $1 grand or more a day and pontificate how much they are doing for us. I'm am very disappointed, but these outrageous salaries will be a topic of the next family discussion - as to why young people have no future in this State. Good grief.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

Here's how it will work. The economy will begin to come back and jobs will slowly return to Michigan. But they won't be for decent wages or benefits like health care. Then Snyder will credit Finney by telling us, "You're doing a great job, Finney!" all without any hard facts about said jobs. Then Finney will move on and get another 50 grand or more raise in a private sector job that he curried while "working" for the MEDC.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

How can you get in on this scam? Get some golf clubs and be part of Snyder or Finney's foursome!


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

Paying good money to give good money away? No wonder the State is broke. LOL How can I get in on this scam, too?

Nathan Bomey

Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

On the topic of Snyder's salary, the AP and other news outlets have already reported that Snyder plans to take a self-imposed pay cut from the standard $159,300 gubernatorial salary. His predecessor, Jennifer Granholm, also voluntarily took a lower salary.,0,3187351.story


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

Lol. I thought the Republican line is that government employees make too much money. They have it too good. Well, MEDC honchos like this seem to have it a whole lot better! That's OK because according to their website, MEDC is "not a bureaucracy".


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

I'm waiting to see what sort of performance measurements are put on Finney. If there are none or they are 'low bar' then we can conclude that it will be 'business as usual' in terms of Synder's appointments. Well paid, loyal cronies who aren't really expected to work too hard just so long as they are loyal to the Governor. Funny how Synder denigrates state employees, is eager to cut their salaries and benefits and then does this kind of thing. I suspect he doesn't see himself or Finney as 'state employees'. But they are and we need to remind them of that fact.


Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

Is anyone willing to defend the kind of outrageous transfer of wealth that the people mentioned in this article?! And Finney ONLY makes 50 G's more than his predecessor? Awww, we should all feel bad for Mr Finney. Following the Wall Street myth that to get the top people you have to pay them big bucks, we shouldn't be surprised that Snyder has begun to funnel taxpayer dollars to the private sector by paying Finney outrageous wages and benefits... and in this economy. Who is constantly telling us little folks that to get and retain the best people you have to pay them the big bucks? The people at the top, of course! I guess that only applies to them and not us plebes. In the same duplicitous breath Snyder cuts the jobs wages and benefits of the people at the bottom of the pay scale while paying Finney, with a dubious and unsubstantiated record of job creation, this kind of money? Outrageous!