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Posted on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

Public employee compensation cuts are necessary, Rick Snyder tells Republican governors

By Nathan Bomey

Public employee compensation needs to be aligned with the private sector, Michigan Gov.-elect Rick Snyder said today on a panel at the Republican Governors Association meeting in San Diego.

Snyder, an Ann Arbor venture capitalist who takes office Jan. 1, said slashing public employee compensation is "one of the toughest things I need to do as the next governor," according to a report in the Washington Post.

"You're talking about people and their livelihoods and their families. So it's a very serious topic. I want to do it working with them," Snyder said. "But you have to ask two questions from a fiduciary point of view. What's comparable with the private sector and what's financially affordable? And my view is I don't believe you can check either one of those boxes today. And if you can't check either of those boxes we need to sit down and have a dialogue."

Snyder was speaking on a panel called "The GOP's Midwest Resurgence" alongside newly elected John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania.

Thirty-four governors were expected to attend the event, which will features possible 2012 presidential candidates such as Mississippi Gov. and RGA Chairman Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The comments about public employee compensation repeat sentiment Snyder expressed during the campaign.

Rick Snyder at rally.jpg

Michigan Gov.-elect Rick Snyder

Ryan Stanton |

In an interview with's editorial board in October, he said cuts were needed but that he "wouldn’t take away anything that’s already been earned by anyone." He also dismissed the idea that previous cuts were sufficient and said that the system needs structural fixes so that public employees get some consistency.

"All the proposals that have gone before are all flawed in some fundamental fashion," Snyder told "Let’s get a solution that’s going to work for 10 or 20 years. It’ll ask for shared sacrifice, but the question is, can we do a solution then that these people don’t need to be looking over their shoulder each and every year?

He added: "When you lay the facts out, we’ve spent significantly beyond our means in terms of government at all levels."

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


Glen S.

Tue, Nov 23, 2010 : 6:52 a.m.

Tearing down public sector workers and bashing unions does nothing to create jobs or create private-sector opportunities -- all it does it accelerate Michigan's decades-long slide toward lower wages, less education, and fewer opportunities. As long as Michigan workers continue thinking of themselves as "private-sector," "public-sector," "union," "non-union," etc. -- all in competition for a limited and shrinking pie -- then we all continue to lose. Instead, we should all agree that EVERYONE who is willing to work hard and play by the rules deserves a fair wage, decent benefits, a safe workplace, and a secure retirement -- and then work together to demand better conditions, and more opportunities, for ALL Michigan workers.


Tue, Nov 23, 2010 : 12:50 a.m.

Knick: Can you admit that it is you in the private sector that screwed this Country up in first place? Your greed and criminal ways in the private sector should be classified as treason in my book. Bail yourselves out. You got this Country in the mess it is in get yourself out. Stop asking public employess to save your sorry private sectors butts.


Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 5:57 p.m.

wow, public employees must be put in a better position than those who pay their salaries? that's the message here from you posters. How nice. We need to hit the wealthy to pay for your union pay packages inflated years ago by the auto union mentality in this state. Send the last wealthy person to another state -- many of whom worked twice as hard as you did to earn a little more than you did with only self-funded retirement and insurance plan - no 20 or 30 and out crap either. Punish those people, how dare they work that hard and take time away from their families without pumping more of their money into the goverment black hole. Pay a receptionist for the state $45,000 with benefits when the private sector pays maybe $22,000 w/ very few benefits for that same job. That's insane but all of you could justify that in a heart beat on some therory that your work is critical, you do more than private sector comparable (that's the funniest), you have to be smarter to perform a public sector job.... Can you just admit that you are over paid and have been for years and there is no justification for it other than the Unions got you that pay. Your options in the private sector were not there for many. What ever happened to going into public work and getting paid less (than comparable private sector position) for the "security"? Really, whatever happened to that? Oh yea, Unions and a complicit government willing to pay too much and give bennies beyond reason for, in many instances, jobs that are not critical to required government services. Goverment is like a virus, it wants to grow and spread and that's it's first and last objective. basic services from government done right would be a nice change. Rick Snyder is already evil because he would dare hint at the sacred cow of public sector union employee pay and benefits -- how nice you can attack him for that and say he is paid too much. what qualifies you to complain about what other people are paid who do not live off the government and defend your government pay and benefits which are - in many instances -- indefensible? it's sickening watching this and it's time a public sector employee or 2 actually get let go to save money like MILLIONS do in the private sector and know what that feels like not to have the nanny cradle to grave government standing guard, taking our money to give it to you so you can retire early and w/o stress.

Glen S.

Sun, Nov 21, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

As Michigan continues losing well-paying manufacturing jobs, public-sector employment (in state and local government, education, and healthcare) is becoming the only opportunity for many Michigan residents to gain employment that can provide a secure, middle-class standard of living. Michigan's middle class public-sector workers and their families support the state through homeowner-ship (creating stable neighborhoods); by paying the bulk of state income and local property taxes; and through their discretionary spending -- which supports Michigan's many small (and large) businesses. So, once Snyder and the Republicans finally fulfill their fantasy of slashing public-sector wages and benefits (as in already happening in the manufacturing sector), what will be the actual result? Will driving tens of thousands of middle-class Michigan residents into poverty and taking away their health benefits really help our economy in the long run? Once this happens -- how many will no longer be able to take that quintessential Michigan "Up North" vacation, and what will be the impact on restaurants, motels, campgrounds, etc? How many will lose their homes or be forced to move out of state -- weakening solid neighborhoods and adding to the glut of foreclosures and falling home values? How many will no longer be able to send their own kids to college -- accelerating Michigan's "brain drain" and already low level of education attainment? How many small businesses will have to close -- once these formerly middle-class employees no longer have discretionary income to eat out in local restaurants, frequent local stores, etc? This fantasy that we can cut our way to prosperity is just that -- a fantasy. We desperately need to find a way to replace the well-paying manufacturing jobs that have been lost to globalization and free trade. But, while we are doing that, we also need to hang on to what remains as the only stable part of Michigan's economy, and protect our public-sector workers from draconian cuts.


Sun, Nov 21, 2010 : 11:26 a.m.

We don't need to compare; statistics show the comparisons already. "public emplyee haters"? Where do you get that? Assumption? Clearly. Most folks love public employees; the exorbitant pay is at issue. Your "average annual compensation for union State employees [of] $54,246" also has a huge assumption: that there are no fringe benefits. But there are benefits - and they are vastly greater than typical private sector benefits. So, let's use total compensation as the metric. Task for task, public workers earn way more than their private peers. "State public employees have higher education levels and have jobs that require more techincal skills" Without comment on the technical skill of spelling, the fact is, employers do not need to pay for the unneeded or excessive education of an employee. Most workers are educated to a much higher level than their job demands, in both public and private sectors. The 'higher education levels' and 'technical skills' argument is tired. In the new age of austerity, equal pay for equal work is important.


Sun, Nov 21, 2010 : 6:09 a.m.

To Alpha2 and all other public emplyee haters: Please remember the House and Seante had a chance in April to rescind the 3% negotiated raise with a 2/3 vote and were unable to garner the votes. A study by the Mi Civil Service Commission (which is no friend to public emplyees) found that the average annual compensation for union State employees was $54,246 which is higher than the average pay for workers nationally but they also note State public employees have higher education levels and have jobs that require more techincal skills. Since when should higher education levels and higher skill leverl equal similar or lower pay to comparable jobs? Since 2000 the State workforce has decreased by 20%. Heres my question to Alpha2 and others: if you think public employees are living high on the hog, why havent you applied for a job? Is it that you dont like making money or is it that you may not be qualified to be hired? As a Union State employee I would be more than willing to compare my pay to anyone here with similar education levels, similar years of service, and similar type jobs. I doubt if I will get any takers.


Sat, Nov 20, 2010 : 11:57 a.m.

By the way, the $104K total compensation does not include the cherished OT. Overtime is not distributed evenly to all ~760 city employees, but if it were, the $2,760,000 shared by 760 workers results in additional compensation of over $3600 per year, bringing average total compensation to over $107K per year. Perhaps we really should be using the $107K value, as that's what is paid.


Sat, Nov 20, 2010 : 11:34 a.m.

BornNRaised - Nice try, but you have tried that line before. Most public employees know better; some have a vested interest to deceive. Take a(nother) look at the documented and referenced article from 2-18-2010 called "Controlling employee costs may be Ann Arbor's biggest challenge". You might want to reread the excellent article. Here is paragraph 17: "The average Ann Arbor city employee earns a base salary of $65,198 and receives $32,993 in benefits. By those calculations, the average active employee costs the city $98,191 per year, a figure slated to rise to $103,769 next year. And that's not including overtime, which is an expense of more than $2.76 million on its own." The $103,769 rounds to $104K. So, let us count what you have misrepresented: @Alpha... once again you continue to spew [accurate] information to the bloggers. Fortunately most are well aware of [these numbers] already. Public employees [do] EARN that much. You keep using the $104K number, which by the way, was a number referring to [all city workers]. You continually compare TOTAL compensation of a public employee to the BLS numbers of EARNED income [which also compare total income] You need to understand there's [value] in your apples-to-[apples] "comments. Everyone else does." Seven significant errors? More likely, seven key misrepresentations.


Sat, Nov 20, 2010 : 5:59 a.m.

Public employee compensation needs to be aligned with the private sector. Our new Gov. is absolutely correct. John Q. Public has been taking monetary hits for many years. I'm amazed that so many in this State don't want to see the big picture of financial trouble we are ALL in. Just because you might work for the State does not mean you should have more than your neighbor. Paying for health care, taking less in the pay check, reduced hours for the work week, loosing vacation time. These are items that MANY OF US ARE LIVING WITH DAILY so we may attempt to keep our jobs.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:46 p.m.

Rhetoric aside, let us remember the facts as stated by the BLS: Our public employees earn nearly twice what their private sector peers do. That is the key fact which needs to be addressed.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 8:41 p.m.

Every time the public or private sector start to feel a pinch the first & only place they look to make cuts is labor. You can't fix Michigan or America by lowering the standard of living.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 7:20 p.m.

State employees have paid more in health care premiums, co-pays and lost pay else where too (Important pre-shifts for C/O's in prison ). Plus Nov. 1st 3% of our gross salary per pay check including any OT Holiday pay goes toward some made up health care fund. Plus last year all NEW(hired after 04/2010)corrections employees now pay 20% of there premium on H.C. I'm fine with no raise next contract but you can't cut and keep raising premium cost when they raised it 5% two years ago. When does it stop? It will be like GM they cut cut cut GM got to a two tier wage scale and guess what they just made 2 BILLION last quarter!!! Are they going to pay those new GM hires more money like back to the wage of the old workers who deserve that money by the way. I don't think so. GM had trouble only after oil went to $150 a barrel!! Who's to blame for that WALL STREET, a weak dollar and speculation from those POS on wall st.

Jay Thomas

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

FYI: The personal income tax was 4.2% in 2002 and was set to decrease by.1% for three years (this was decided before Granholm was elected... nothing to do with her that's true). From 2004 to 2007 it was 3.9%. October 1, 2007 it was increased from 3.9 to 4.35%. That 4.35 is *higher* than when she came into office.

Jay Thomas

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 5:47 p.m.

@Douglas DeVries: Yes, it's hilarious. I'm still laughing about that Engler unemployment rate in the 6 percent range when Granholm took over. What a mess he left her! She clearly had no choice but to add 1.2 billion to the deficit in the 2003-2004 fiscal year. "Promise scholarships" and what-not are more important than pesky things like deficits anyway. As someone who used to post here put it: "I will miss her dearly." [sniffle] (cue Frank Sinatra) ----> "She did it her way."


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 2:48 p.m.

So basically, Mr. Snyder wants public employees to not be able to pay their bills and perhaps contribute unfortunately to the foreclosure issues and/or bankruptcy? What kind of logic is this? Obviously,no logic, except the same dance, different day Republicans always do. Rob from the poor and middle class and protect the rich. This is ridiculous. Who will be his next target?Doubt that it will be the well-connected and wealthy who voted for him.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 1:24 p.m.

In reply to Jay Thomas, just like the mess Engler left her with. Isn't it funny that the Mi income tax rates were higher under Engler.04635, which he phased out to take affect after he was out of office.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 1:19 p.m.

I agree Synder needs to start at the top if he is going to cut the state budget. There is too much management and not enough people doing the real work.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

Snyder essentially proposes that we must not appropriately tax the well-off in Michigan or take away or reduce their subsidies. Instead, state employees and the middle & lower classes have been arbitrarily selected to bear the burden so that the rich may afford additional vacation homes for themselves. This is what "austerity" and GOP "restructuring" are all about. Though, to be fair, one can find some Democrats who share similar sentiments. If Snyder were more ethical, he would promote a progressive overhaul of taxation for Michigan. If he were like former Republican Gov. Milliken, he'd do that while also blocking the lunatic right in his own party when necessary. @ precherkid: Please note that those who eagerly blame and bash state employees do not, as a rule, respect rational arguments or the nuances of everyday reality.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 12:34 p.m.

As a twenty year state employee who retired and whose wife has over thirty years in with the state here are my observations: First: state employees pay premiums for their health insurance. Ours comes to over $2500/year what with the 3% "raise" we received that was unilaterally confiscated. Without that our premiums are still almost $1000/yr. We also pay co-pays every time we go to the doctor, the pharmacy, the dentist etc. Second: state employees negotiated away cost of living increases in line with the private sector in the 1990's for health insurance coverage with lower premiums and co-pays that are now being eroded. That is usually forgotten. Third: my wife monitors a privatized social agency that is charged with a critical element of care in our society. The privatized agency pays its employees much less has to hire many more employees. They tend to last a few months, they tend to be in their early twenties, they tend to be very inexperienced and those facts tend to impact the quality of their work bigtime. Fourth: state employees hired in the past ten years do not have a defined benefit pension plan. They contribute to their own retirement plan with some matching by the state. The former defined benefit pension plan was/is nothing to brag about. Fifth: this was not myself but I well know a former state administrator with enormous responsibilities for quality of life and matters of life and death in our community. He supervised upwards of four hundred personnel and a budget in the tens of millions. In the private sector his income would have been three or four times the money he made. Sixth: when I used to report to my office, I sometimes commented to the security guard: time to work at the "welfare office, my contribution to the welfare of the taxpayers of Michigan" (of which I was one as well).


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:37 a.m.

Here is an interesting article, a good example of what can happen if you are not careful. It is not Michigan, but the practices are the same and some of the listed salaries are staggering:

Dr. I. Emsayin

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:35 a.m.

When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, very few reply: I want to be a state employee. When you ask the best and brightest high school seniors what they want to be, only a few say they want to become teachers. Ask the top math students' parents if they hope their child will become a public employee, likely they will tell you that the reality is that more money can be made in the private sector. Those individuals who decide to become teachers have a 4 year college degree plus whatever it costs them to earn 1 or 2 master's degrees. Who in the private sector with 2 master's degrees is earning 45K a year to start or 75K a year after 20 years? Most make more. A plumber with a 2 year degree and certification can earn 80K a year. Let's keep the public and private sector equal in compensation.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:29 a.m.

Mr. Snyder is correct. Several states have serious deficits, most due to ballooned compensation. And I agree with Cash. People at the top of the pay scales are the main culprit. Dept heads and their deputies are getting outrageous pay for work that does not require much brain. Cuts are always made at the bottom to the people who actually do the real work, those who have the most contact with customers. Meanwhile the balloon at the top keeps expanding, like the AAPS superintendent job. But it not easy. Pensions are archaic and a huge part of the problem, but you cannot change to defined contribution plans that make your employees work their whole lives. You just can't build up a decent def contribution plan with a low pay. So people in jobs at the bottom of the pay scale may have to remain on defined contribution plans if you do not want them working well into their 70s. Or their pay has to be increased so that they can have a decent retirement. Thus I think the answer is to squash the pay scale so it is more equal from top to bottom not as spread out as it is now. The folks at the top spend the money on excesses anyway while the lower paid often struggle to get by. Another problem of over paying admin is that when you boost the top job, like the school board wants to do, there is a ripple effect. The person on the next rung is going to get a boost, and so on and everybody down the ladder is going to see the gaps and start using that to ask for more, especially if the person at the top is not the visionary with unique perspectives they were thought to be. So it is not as easy as just saying cut compensation, Governor Snyder. It will take careful planning with some consideration on if folks will be able to retire later on. Not doing so got us into this mess.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:10 a.m.

OK- Yes cuts are needed. But how about cutting from the top? How many directors positions does the state really need? Then you have deputy directors, several assistant deputy directors, regional directors, local directors/administrators, deputy administrators, several assistant deputy administators. This is not including all of they're staff. It's not the bottom teir that's costing the most money.

Ms. H

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

0.00 copay's WHERE? I am a state employee. If you take a HMO with any company you can probably elect a lower copay. If he really wanted to reduce the budget it would start with the pension fund. Politicians get pensions for 1 term of service, we get it for 30. Snyder is a joke, he reappointed all of the Engler staff and now they want to "get revenge". Feel so sorry for this state.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

There's no way he can coordinate every state employee to be paid equal to the private sector. I do agree...if he starts from the top on down, I'll believe he's serious about cuts. However, he, personally, cannot cut legislature wages as they are law. Will he get the cooperation from them? Let's see. There are IT people working for the state that would double their salaries if working for the private sector...if they wanted to move to a large metropolis. Working for the state allows them to do what they love, but get paid much less. There are leadership trainers who would get paid 10 fold more in the private sector, but they work for a lousy $65K. Then look at prison officials? How do you consciously say that they can do their job for $9.50/hr like the private sector instead of the $23/hr they get now. I would venture that we'd see an exodus like we've never seen before and the state would be caught in a state of emergency...and YOUR safety is at risk? Would you do that for $9.50/hr? Now, let's talk upper management. Almost every department has jobs where they were created to look out for friends who they wanted to promote, but the openings weren't there. These people make well in excess of $100K/yr. Why do you need 6-8 levels of management between the line worker and the Director's office? I'm not talking positions, I'm talking fully staffed management levels that have a employee salary base in the millions! Will he cut the pay of the State Police Trooper? They make what...$30/hr. That's about $65K PLUS overtime for which many make over $100K. Ask your local police officer how much he makes? 35K? 45K? Do the troopers get paid so much because they are "STATE" troopers, not local police? I know he needs to make cuts. I am a state employee and I can assure you that the conditions I work in and the life threatening situations I face on a daily basis do not relate to the pay I get. I work in a prison. Would you? No, but I will. So you feel compelled to say that because even though I work for the state I should be paid much less? Obviously, I disagree. If it's a job none of you would want to do and none of you actually see in action, then you can't tell us that we make too much. Some state employees do. I agree. This one does not! Plain and simple.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 9:37 a.m.

$0.00 Co-Pays for public employees are insane. And if you ask them to chip-in and pay for some of their expenses, they strike. Healthcare is a privilege, not a right.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

Government jobs require more skill than comparable jobs in the private sector? Then the poster compares private sector employees with "burger flippers"? Nice. So you're saying that a college graduate that is working as an office administrator in the private sector isn't as skilled as an office administrator who works for the government? Or a clerk? Or any other position? Private sector employees skill level is only that od a 'burger flipper'??? That's good to know - many government jobs don't require a college degree, many private sector jobs of that are comparable do.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

This is really his big idea to balance the budget? How about cut some high dollar unneeded projects. He wants to do it off the backs of the 1000s of public employees. I guess that's the easiest target since most are union and didn't vote for him anyways so it's not a big loss to him.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

Overall, government jobs require more skills than is found in the general working population. A financial officer at the state level should not have his/her salary compared to a hamburger flipper at McDonalds. Money may be saved by adjusting benefits, however, as I understand that state employees pay little or no deductibles or copayments for medical care and may pay less of a percentage of their insurance premiums than is required of the average non-government employee. Suggesting that state employment steals from the private sector is fallacious in view of the over 640,000 unemployed. No documented support for this claim has ever been presented.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

"Let's also cut taxes for the wealthy earners... it's only right." No, that's only left.

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 8:05 a.m.

Over 1/2 of the U.S. trade deficit, which is nearly 1 trillion dollars per year, is caused by importing oil into the U.S. This oil trade deficit has been accumulating from year to year since the 1970's when domestic U.S. oil supplies peaked and the U.S. was forced to increase oil imports. This "oil trade deficit" accumulates in the form of national debt at the rate of about 4 trillion dollars every 10 years, which is now causing downward pressure on state and local governments. Many are now trying to exploit this debt by claiming it's caused by "entitlement spending" and "wasteful bloated government" while voting against legislation to break our foreign oil dependence. Although some government cuts may be useful, cuts should focus on those at the top of the income scale and not scraped out of the pockets of low level government workers just trying to make ends meet. Two unfunded wars off the books (conducted while passing astronomical tax cuts), Chinese currency manipulations to give the Chinese trade advantage, and declining state tax bases which have been lowered to compete with other states who are desperately slashing taxes to compete with Chinese manufacturing (which is highly exploitive and polluting) are also causing the current state and local budget deficits. It's all about downward pressure.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 1:21 a.m.

We elect this Guy for his fiscal ideas, then when he purposes them he gets criticized for it by the very people who elected him. That makes plenty of sense. I didn't vote for him because I was refused a hot dog when he first opened his office downtown, they were free but I wasn't a friend of rick so I didn't get one. Other than that I agree with most his ideas. Public employees are over paid and under worked, I wish I could have barely finished high school and I make sixty thousand, these people are not living in reality if they think that such an occupation is sustainable in the modern global economy.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:06 p.m.

"Good discussion... but we really need some tax cuts for the wealthy..." Absolutely. For example, at total annual compensation of $104K/year, the average A2 city employee is in about the top 8th percentile of income...


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:48 p.m.

From the information that I have read - it's not as if people will have benefits taken from them. One of the items was regarding insurance. Insurance (medical coverage) averages about $1,200 to $2,000 more per employee for government employees than it does for those with coverage in the private sector. That being said - our insurance is very good, we have health, dental and optical. No to low co-pays. We pay for a percentage of our insurance costs, the reest is paid by the employer. This insurance is not 'special' or better than the average insurance. We are given a choice as to which insurance plan we prefer - according to our needs. The company pays a specific amount, anything over that amount is our portion. It's also been confirmed that government employees earn far more for the same type of work and skill level than those in the private sector. The state employees recently received a 3% pay increase while the private sector has not. I see nothing wrong with a pay freeze and a new approach to benefits for government employees. It is - after all - the private sector that is paying their wages through our tax dollars. If we are being hit with pay cuts, paying all or part of our insurance and working through wage freezes - why can't government employees do the same? Or do they believe they are somehow entitled to more? What I find most ironic is that those who protest having their wages frozen or possibly cut by a couple of percentage points are the very same people who will become all indignant toward people who don't support government health care reform - saying that WE NEED TO DO OUR PART TO HELP OTHERS... Yet when it's their turn to give up a little of theirs to 'help out' - they want nothing to do with it and will fight tooth and nail not to 'participate'. And they have the nerve to call everyone else selfish and greedy...


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:40 p.m.

Let's also cut taxes for the wealthy earners... it's only right. lol Gotta love it.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:36 p.m.

Good discussion... but we really need some tax cuts for the wealthy...

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:18 p.m.

Great move, Gov. Snyder. This should have been done about ten years ago.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:53 p.m.

I support Governor-Elect Snyder's call to slash compensation of public officials. As gallery69 suggests he neds to start with his own salary as the State House did with their own compensation. The six-figure compensation of some local public officials is obscene.

John Q

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:44 p.m.

" As a taxpayer who pays for your way in life, why should you have the "fat cat" benefits when I cannot pay my medical bills to the U of M for my 2 year olds hernia surgery?" Sounds like that free market medical system is doing wonders for you.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:23 p.m.

Sandman said: @stunhsif You and every other "gov't employee haters" do not realize the life that is lead by said employees: constant supervision, micor-managing, negative public scrutiny, berating, told we are over-paid, told we are lazy, given sub-standard tools and expected to perform as well as a private contractors, jobs threatened daily by every resident in the town... How will your city services be when you need to call BFI to come back and pick up a garbage can that they forget or try calling the mayor or city counmcilman to clean up the snow because Margolis skipped your driveway. You need to wake up and smell the writing on the wall people. Public empoyee wages increase very slowly; public employee wages are low in good times and seemingly high in bad times, but the private sector always wins out in the end. Get over yourself and figure out how to fix the econmony...not the trustworthy, reliable public servants. My answer Mr. Sandman is, PRIVATIZE. I don't have healthcare benefits or a pension after I retire, do you, yes, or course you do. Why is that? When I and other taxpayers pay your livelihood why is it fair that you get "cradle to grave" benefits and healthcare as a state employeee. 40 years ago, the private sector had healthcare after retirement and pensions, we don't have that anymore. So answer me this question. As a taxpayer who pays for your way in life, why should you have the "fat cat" benefits when I cannot pay my medical bills to the U of M for my 2 year olds hernia surgery?

Nathan Bomey

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:58 p.m.

@Townie, Snyder received no compensation for his involvement with Ann Arbor SPARK, tax documents show. All of SPARK's Board members are volunteers. Perhaps you're thinking of Michael Finney, the CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, which gets about 1/5th of its operating budget from Local Development Financing Authority (LDFA) tax funds. Finney took in nearly $260,000 in total compensation in 2008. Finney is considered a possible candidate to become CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. under Snyder.

Otto Mobeal

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:57 p.m.

Remember Snyder is a businessman. In business, if nobody quits the business and people are standing in line to be hired, then you are paying too much. If you cannot hire new people and experienced people are quiting then you aren't offering enough. Which is the situation at the State? I don't know, but I am guessing not to many are leaving. Another paper has our teachers 11th best paid in the country, while the people are 38th best paid. Things are a little out of balance. So simplistically we have 2 options, raise the income of the people or lower the income of the teachers. What could (not would) you do as Governor?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:50 p.m.

What happens if the 'alignment' shows public employees are lower than private sector? Will he raise public employee salaries? Silly me, of course, no. And there won't be a compensation study or anything to really do an honest alignment. And how much did Rick Michigan get paid at SPARK? $300k I heard. And where did the SPARK funding coming from? Bet you didn't know it came from A2 education funds. Yup. Not that the AANews would ever bring that up (hi Laurel). And was SPARK's hilarious 'job creation' figures ever audited independently or verified? Nope. Rich Rick MIchigan: 'let them eat cake'.

say it plain

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:45 p.m.

I love @Cash's comments here...if Snyder cuts salaries at the upper levels as well as the lower, then and only then will I believe that what he's on about with this is truly reigning in the costs of government at a time when tax revenue is low. But I suspect this will really be about 'controlling *labor* costs', which in the private sector only means the peons, *never* the star players or the CEO-types, you know. And anyway, he'll be able to argue that the 'star players' like high-level administrators would do soo much better in the private sector so he couldn't possibly lower their salaries. In the private sector we have come to believe that it's all well and good for the upper management to make orders of magnitude more money than the others...I wonder how Gov. Snyder would react to the AAPS superintendent debate, actually. Are we outsourcing state lawyer-type work to India yet? Maintaining databases and such? That would save us some money, I'd guess. But thanks to Snyder's GOP we can keep the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest of us going for another decade, so we can perhaps hope for a little surge in the numbers of service and retail jobs available?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:45 p.m.

As Tom Izzo just gets a $500K a year raise with the use of a private jet.

G.W. Williams

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

I think we need to recognize that public employee compensation is out of control in Michigan. By this I do NOT mean that our public employees don't deserve every penny they get. I mean that we simply don't have the funds to pay them what they've been getting in light of the budget difficulties and the fact that everyone, especially private sector workers have to sacrifice greatly. Here are three steps we can take that will save us millions. - Reduce state employee compensation to the average compensation of state workers in the US or the average of MI private sector workers (Potential savings: $287 - $1,383M as of FY 2007-08) - Reduce the state workforce by 5-10% (Potential savings: $236 - $473M as of FY 2007-08) - Adjust state employee premium contributions to the national public sector average (Potential savings: $74M) Learn how we can implement these changes through the Michigan Turnaround Plan.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:20 p.m.

@stunhsif You and every other "gov't employee haters" do not realize the life that is lead by said employees: constant supervision, micor-managing, negative public scrutiny, berating, told we are over-paid, told we are lazy, given sub-standard tools and expected to perform as well as a private contractors, jobs threatened daily by every resident in the town... How will your city services be when you need to call BFI to come back and pick up a garbage can that they forget or try calling the mayor or city counmcilman to clean up the snow because Margolis skipped your driveway. You need to wake up and smell the writing on the wall people. Public empoyee wages increase very slowly; public employee wages are low in good times and seemingly high in bad times, but the private sector always wins out in the end. Get over yourself and figure out how to fix the econmony...not the trustworthy, reliable public servants.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:57 p.m.

Hey Rick, Public employees live paycheck to paycheck, unlike yourself. Cutting their wages will equate to cutting their present self-worth. With that in mind, let's cut your total present self worth, to include your future income...I'd say, let's cut your total value down to ours, about $100,000.00 and that includes retirement accounts and our homes. Then we'll pay you $50,000.00 a year with limited health benefits. Tell your children that Christmas will be limited to a Walmart tree and $100.00 divided amongst them all. Sell your suits, lease a Malibu, fight over the cost of groceries and get a second job at Home Depot to buy your spouse a new pair of shoes and a romantic card for the holidays. Who elected this middle class killer...


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

@eduadvocate: "So when the public employee compensation is cut, what happens to the local businesses that are supported by those dollars that won't be spent anymore? If people don't make the salary, then they can't spend the salary - that means more "ghost towns" - goodbye local business." Get real please. The tax dollars left in the hands of the multitude of taxpayers ( for spending on whatever), will far outweight the loss of pensions/healthcare and raises for the public sector employees. I almost fell off my 30 year old couch reading your post! Thank goodness I voted for Rick. The next 4 years are going to be interesting and I hope we can dig ourselves out of this 8 foot hole.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:52 p.m.

And let's make examples of Big Ten coaches as well. They work in the public sector no matter how they jiggle the funds around. Come on Snyder, if you really want to go after public sector....take on the big shots and make an example of them! Otherwise it's union busting, not budget balancing.

Jay Thomas

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:49 p.m.

Jenny is leaving Rick with a deficit unless I'm mistaken. State employee compensation need to be benchmarked to the private sector and cuts made to make ends meet. Nuff said.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:46 p.m.

Well let's see if a multi-millionaire will go after the excesses in education - or will he go after the lower paid folks? I would actually admire him if he went after the highly overpaid folks at the top of the scale...the administrators, starting with university administrators, like Mary Sue. But I'm betting he will hit on the lower paid folks. Can't take from the rich you know.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:38 p.m.

Start with Mary Sue and work down the ladder. Don't work from the bottom up. Make an example of the excesses that have gotten out of control.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:21 p.m.

So when the public employee compensation is cut, what happens to the local businesses that are supported by those dollars that won't be spent anymore? If people don't make the salary, then they can't spend the salary - that means more "ghost towns" - goodbye local business.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:41 p.m.

Unfortunately, Snyder is correct. If for no other reason, it's necessary because funding levels to the State Treasury from regular income sources (property taxes, income taxes, fees, etc.) are way down from historical levels and they won't be returning to "normal" any time soon.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:38 p.m.

Pretty sorry! After Snyder decimates the public employees then what is he going to do?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:34 p.m.

Good, he can start with slashing his own salary.

joe average

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:24 p.m.

What a timely article!! Now, will someone please ask Mr. Snyder to sit down with Ms. Mexicotte,, and provide a power point or something?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

good pr move, it will not work here in our state of mighty unoin michigan, leave us alone Rick!!! we deserve every penny!!!


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

good pr move, it will not work here in our state of mighty unoin michigan, leave us alone Rick!!! we deserve every penny!!!


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:15 p.m.

Dear Ann Arbor School Board President Deb Mexicotte, A school superintendent is a public official. As you can read in the above article, Governor-elect Snyder want us all to realize that "(w)hen you lay the facts out, weve spent significantly beyond our means in terms of government at all levels." This translates into no new raises for folks going to meetings and talking on the phone.