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Posted on Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Who are the Top 25 highest-paid nonunion employees in Ann Arbor city government?

By Ryan J. Stanton


City Administrator Roger Fraser is the city's highest-paid employee with a base salary of $145,354. has filed a FOIA request to find out Fraser's total income for each of the last nine years. He was not willing to provide that information voluntarily.

Ryan J. Stanton |

There's been a lot of talk lately about the level of compensation provided to union employees in the public sector, but what do the nonunion employees make?

The following is a list of the base salaries for the Top 25 highest-paid nonunion employees in Ann Arbor city government, according to public records obtained by

The records were provided this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The figures given do not include other pay some officials might receive above their base salaries. Note the list also includes Dominick Lanza, who recently resigned from his post as fire chief.

Top 25 nonunion employees

1. Roger Fraser, City Administrator — $145,354
2. Stephen Postema, City Attorney — $141,538
3. Sue McCormick, Public Services Area Administrator — $135,600
4. Barnett Jones, Police Chief and Safety Services Administrator — $126,500
5. Tom Crawford, Chief Financial Officer — $125,500
6. Robyn Wilkerson, Human Resources and Labor Relations Director — $124,000
7. Abigail Elias, Chief Assistant City Attorney — $117,500
8. Sumedh Bahl, Community Services Area Administrator — $115,000
9. Karen Lancaster, Accounting Services Manager — $112,460
10. Dan Rainey, Information Technology Director — $111,785
11. Homayoon Pirooz, Project Management Unit Manager — $110,255
12. David Petrak, City Assessor — $109,535
13. Dominick Lanza, Fire Chief — $108,000
14. Earl Kenzie, Wastewater Treatment Plant Manager — $98,780
15. Mary Fales, Senior Assistant City Attorney — $97,500
16. Keith Zeisloft, Court Administrator — $96,911
17. Nancy Niemela, Senior Assistant City Attorney — $96,000
18. Nancy Walker, Pension System Executive Director — $95,000
19. Susan Pollay, DDA Executive Director — $94,689
20. Eli Cooper, Transportation Program Manager — $94,000
21. Bob West, Senior Assistant City Attorney — $94,000
22. Craig Hupy, Systems Planning Manager — $93,855
23. Richard Martonchik, HR Services Partner — $92,700
24. Cresson Slotten, Civil Engineer — $92,445
25. Lisa Wondrash, Communications Unit Manager — $91,700

Other top earners also obtained a searchable PDF showing all city employees' salaries as of June 2010. Click here to download it.

The document shows the salaries of 738 people totaled $46.2 million, or $62,587 on average. Without duplicating anyone on the previous list, the following is a list of other city employees making at least $85,000 as of last June, some of them union and some of them nonunion.

Note that the figures include only base salary and not other forms of pay. Overtime across all city departments in fiscal year 2009-10 totaled more than $2.7 million.

  • Angella Abrams, Police Lieutenant — $88,982
  • Greg Bazick, Deputy Police Chief — $109,366
  • Joshua Baron, Senior Applications Specialist — $85,000
  • Myron Blackwell, Police Lieutenant — $88,982
  • Kenneth Bogan, Senior Financial Specialist — $89,155
  • Renee Bush, Police Lieutenant — $88,982
  • Bob Cariano, Safety Manager — $85,260
  • Kevin Eyer, IT Senior Applications Specialist — $85,480
  • Russell Hanshue, Applications Delivery Manager — $90,000
  • Matt Horning, City Treasurer — $87,100
  • Matt Kulhanek, Fleet and Facilities Manager — $90,930
  • Kristen Larcom, Senior Assistant City Attorney — $90,500
  • Kevin McDonald, Senior Assistant City Attorney — $88,000
  • Kathleen McMahon, IT Project Delivery Manager — $90,000
  • Joe Morehouse, DDA Deputy Director — $86,335
  • Michael Nearing, Civil Engineer — $85,605
  • Margaret Novak, Housing Commission Director — $88,000
  • Ramesh Peddeti, IT Senior Applications Specialist — $86,615
  • Wendy Rampson, Planning Manager — $90,000
  • Phil Ristenbatt, IT Senior Applications Specialist — $88,900
  • Marlene Robinson, IT Project Delivery Manager — $89,865
  • Elizabeth Rolla, Civil Engineer — $85,230
  • Larry Sanford, Assistant Water Treatment Plant Manager — $89,130
  • John Seto, Deputy Chief — $108,264
  • Leszek Sipowski, Civil Engineer — $85,340
  • Colin Smith, Parks and Recreation Manager — $88,000
  • Mark St. Amour, Police Lieutenant — $88,982
  • Mary Ann Tremaine, Police Lieutenant — $88,982
  • Wendy Welser, Customer Service Manager — $89,300
  • Ralph Welton Jr., Chief Development Officer — $86,000

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 11:02 p.m.

While discussing salaries, recently I read that the Superintendent of Schools for the City of Chicago earns $250,000. a year. You may remember the news that the new Ann Arbor Superintendent of Schools would earn $250,000. a year. Isn't there a vast difference in the sizes of the school districts and the numbers (and needs) of students? Who authorizes such public salaries here? I'd rather see $100,000 of the new Superintendent's salary be distributed among teachers to fund classroom items they now pay for personally.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

@JohnnyA2: NSF International is a non-profit organization.

Dominick Lanza

Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

I felt the need to comment as my name is on the list of 25 even though I no longer work for the city. My listed salary is correct but what isnt listed is that it was $10,000 less than the former Fire Chief. People have commented that I negotiated my contract quite the oppisite I took the job with no contract which is virtually unheard of for a Fire Chief. I did so because I was confident in my abilities and the 35 years experience I brought with me. I had no golden parachute when I left it cost me $10,000 to move to Michigan and set up a second home no relocation assistance from the city. I traveled 3 times to Michigan for the interview process all at my expense. I came to your City to try to help but sadly there are those in the City who wish to bury the Fire Department. You get what you pay for and for what I was brought to Ann Arbor for it was a bargain. Start paying substandard wages and you'll get substandard service. Dominick Lanza

Boo Radley

Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 6:33 a.m.

Whenever wants to generate a little interest and get lots of hits and comments, they can drag out a list of public employee salaries and/or an article on benefits and retirements. The trouble is ... many complain that they are way out of line with private employers without showing any data to prove that. The only real difference is that public employers have to publish or provide this information and private employers do not. The only problem I have in the above article is that Roger Fraser, who knows that his salary information is subject to FOIA requests and cannot be kept confidential, would force the city to waste time and money handling the FOIA request rather than just providing the information.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 6:32 a.m.

The Customer Service Mgr is way over paid. Oh. She's McCormick's right-hand girl.

Peter Jameson

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

That seems like a very modest amount of money for their jobs.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

So if private employers pay so much less, let's take a look at a local company like NSF International. The numbers I will relate are from 2009 (the most recent available): CEO Kevan Lawlar $827,131 CIO Chandan Kathuna $$310,183 VP International Koen Buntsnick $343,165 Sr VP Kristen Holt $416,375 VP Certification Robert Ferguson $272,604 Sr VP Lorelie Bestervelt $393,754 CFO Michael Walsh $212,438 VP Human Resources James Lewis $184,817 VP Marketing Elizabeth Jones $136,733 VP Retail safety Nancy Culotta $277,871 VP Food safety Thomas Chestnut $234,609 Secretary Nancy Bauer $83,744 <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> These are private sector jobs IN Ann Arbor Township. Many of the top people who work for the city might have similar jobs. Why is it bad for somebody who works for the city to make what other people who work in the city do? Should we only hire those that are willing to work at minimum wage? I am sure the COMPETENT applicants will be lining up to work as a city attorney at $10 an hour.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 4:34 a.m.

Beautiful, Johnnya2


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:36 p.m.

&quot;NOBODY is overpaid.&quot; Yes, some people are overpaid. The former CEO's at Borders were overpaid. Former head of Blackstone Stephen Schwarzman was overpaid, at $700,000,000 plus for his last year, in addition to the 4.7 BILLION dollars he raked in from options. Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, took home $18,600,000 last year. This was after the taxpayers bailed out his company. Personally I find these folks to be overpaid, especially when so many are finding it hard to make simple ends meet. Anybody that makes hundreds of times what the lowliest employee at the same company makes is overpaid. IMHO


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

Don, If your friend would like to apply for the job as an attorney for the city of Ann Arbor, I am sure they will consider his qualifications., What is your point? Terminal, NOBODY is overpaid. People get paid what they can. Paying people more helps everybody. I do not see a problem with what any employee of the city of Ann Arbor makes. Why you bring up what athletes or entertainers make is just silly. The people who pay them make much more than they do. The industry they are in makes HUGE profits. They deserve to share in those profits. I think the more people who make more money is better for all.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

Could these people be overpaid as well? It's been a mantra of people who tell us that government should be run like a business. Business tells us that to get the best people you have to pay them what most folks consider to be pretty good salary and ad another one with their professionally employed spouse. Nice living if you can get it.. No doubt these people are dedicated and highly educated and trained in their area of expertise. They might even work hard for that money. But 6 and sometimes 7 figure incomes? C'mon. They charge what the market will bear, and make their case for ultra pay and bonuses, by telling us so. This is a shameful situation. People making ultra-incomes in public service is little different that what happens in private sector. The people at the top are interchangeable. It shouldn't be a surprise that public servants are valued the same as celebrity level sports and entertainment moguls (same thing) and Wall Street investment bankers. They're all pushing the same mantra. You need to pay me more because I'm worth it compared to... that guy over there, who's a good friend of mine...


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Actually Johnnya2 - My cab driver in Nashville was a lawyer, his firm collapsed in the mortgage mess. With more than 1 million lawyers in the US many of them are not living very high on the hog.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

How many &quot;overpaid&quot; city lawyers does it take to make one UM football coach? --- 2010, Former CMS CEO had compensation of 5.9 million dollars in 2009, during a period that saw revenues drop 8%. Executive Vice President and CFO Thomas Webb had compensation of $2 million and Senior Vice President James Brunner had compensation of $1.7 million. during a period that saw revenues drop 8%. And they deserve tax breaks.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

It's interesting how short sighted some people are being here. If you want good quality employees you have to pay for them. There is no difference if it is a private sector job or a public sector job. What Ann Arbor is paying these employees is not that far out of line with ciites of similar size and wealth. And if you do believe what they receive as compensation is out of whack I assume you believe that as well for faculty at the University of Michigan, where professors average $144k, associate professors $92k and $80k for assistant professors. The point is you pay for quality. If this wasn't true Michigan wouldn't pay like they do and neither would the City.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

And if you doubt me, ask yourself why we shop at places like Whole Foods despite their prices.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

It SURE would be interesting to compare that list to the top 25 highest paid employees of PRIVATE companies. But those lists take work. And besides, we'd all realize what a bargain public employees are, and that would go against the corporate dogma of the day.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

We don't pay the salaries and benefits for those in the private sector so your point is what ? Good Day

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

Several people have commented asking for an examination of city employee benefit packages. I recently wrote a story that looked very closely at the differences in health care benefits provided to each of the different city labor groups. You can read it here: <a href=""></a> Additionally, as the story notes, has filed a FOIA request to find out Fraser's total income for each of the last nine years, which should show the totality of any cash payouts he received on top of his base salary.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

There are over 5000 UM employees that make an FTE salary of $100K or more...with an upward slope in line with the tuition increases. Very simple math.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

As with Terminal I would like to point out not a single IAFF (fire union) employee made the list. The only fire position that did was the Chief who is not union and negotiated his own contract an that position is vacant.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Clearly all of these folks went into public service to get rich, isn't that the best way to do it?

Bertha Venation

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

As much as I complain about City Council, I can't say too much bad about the salaries. BTW, if anybody wants me, I'll be selling pies at the end of my driveway.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

I love your sense of humor -- thanks!

Mr. Tibbs

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

I wonder what brought all this on? follow the money, follow the chronology. everytime someone with a shovel in their hand, or a person who actually did any work for the tax payors of this city retired, the money dried up, and went elsewhere. the general fund I think it's called. Well you can't have all that money there, so the admin, gives themselve raises. All with your councils blessing. A while back, when Mr. Fraser was asked why these people needed so much money, it happened to be at the time when Pfizer was still in town.....he said he needed to pay them that much otherwise Pfizer would snap them up. To that my reply would have been, &quot;If (they) were smart enough, Pfizer would have employed them already! Nothing, including being a lawyer for the city, by the way have they ever won against a lawsuit yet? Nothing is worth 100K a year. And you people get to drive in sow covered roads, and I actually know citizens whose tax bill passed up thier house payment..... keep have no choice.....did you also know that while you cannot work for the city and sit on the council, you can work for the U. of M. and the last I checked they ALL have or did at one time or another. so now you know why the decisions are made......

John B.

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.

Nothing is worth $100K/year? I bet you *really* don't like all the rich Republicans that make Millions or in some cases Billions per year, huh?

Bertha Venation

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

You got THAT right, Mr. Tibbs!


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

No....really...this can't be this a left over April fools joke? Why would this little city pay so much? And to think Fraser is going to Lansing.....guess everyone in Michigan needs to open their wallets.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Fraser will be one of Snyder's Emergency Managers. He might be paid less, but the business connections he'll make on the golf course will keep him in BMW's and McMansions on the suburbs for the rest of his life, most likely someplace warm.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

I added a couple of sentences to the story to be more clear that the figures include only base salary and not other forms of pay. Overtime across all city departments in fiscal year 2009-10 totaled more than $2.7 million, in case anyone was interested.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

Stephen: 1. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime pay may be required. I'm not sure if City employees would be exempted. 2. Comparing salary data is meaningless without knowing total compensation (including benefits). I don't think one could assume that AAPS and City employees share the same benefit structure.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

Ryan, You might think about comparing city and AAPS salaries for comparable positions. You can normalize the data based on relative budget or headcount managed and then see which group is paid more based on what they are required to manage. For example, compare the city administrator with the new superintendent. Normalize the salary data with a factor based on the relative total budget or total managed headcount of the two organizations. Could be a useful table with comparable positions, actual salaries, and salaries corrected with the calculated factor. You can through in the University, too, in the case of the head of DPS v the chief of police. Unfortunately there will be people who won't give you any break for the factors you choose, but that is the price one pays for actually doing rather than (like the rest of us) just commenting. If you have the data I'll even help you with the analysis.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Why should any non-union or management role city employees be paid overtime? When I worked in private industry (recently retired) overtime was a thing of the past. We worked as long as hard as necessary to get the job done -- and that was substantially more than 40 hours per week. I guess when there is no &quot;Job 1&quot; and everything can slide there is no sense of urgency to get the work done.

John B.

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:59 p.m.

A number that tells us nothing, unfortunately.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.

Ryan: Thanks for posting the information. I think I and other commenters have noted the value of the benefits packages to be an important part of this discussion. Is that information known or knowable?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

Ryan it's fair for to publish these salaries. But the frequency of these articles and the total lack of context is troubling. So the city has an Tech Manager making $90,000. How does that compare to a similar position in the private sector?'s failure to ever provide such context leads one to conclude that there's an agenda - contributing to the impression that public salaries are too high - rather than a sound journalistic examination of the issue.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

They need to accept a 15% pay cut and pay 20% of their health insurance premium.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

Maybe Governor Snyder is right on one point. Maybe it is time to fold units of government together. Maybe it is time to do fold the city governments, township governments and the county into one unit. I have seen no counter argument for why that should not be. It would seriously reduce administrative overhead if done right, and put more money into services that citizens see. Please don't give me the local control argument folks, we have no local control, the politicians do what they want anyway.

Brenda Kerr

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

Real reporting would have given some context to these numbers. Maybe comparing to comparable jobs in comparable cities, or, in some cases, the private sector. This is just throwing garbage over the wall. Shame on the reporter and

Dog Guy

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

Why the comments comparing city pay to that in successful and efficient private corporations? A tax-paid teacher, I am nothing but embarrassed by comparisons of success with less expensive private education. I appreciate the support, but please do not introduce comparable-worth comparisons. Taxis are faster and more convenient than AATA for a lot less money per ride, but so what? Comparisons do not apply because only a government monopoly can force taxpayers to support universal water, transport, school, earth worship, safety, etc. services. Only an official mandarin class can know what is best for the commoners or can decide what is good art or architecture. Only elected experts and their designees can know that windmills and bicycles are holy and that cars are evil. Only a government monopoly can force people to be good. It is an incomparable system!


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

News ARE the government....get involved and do something about it!


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

Only truth and terminal are correct right now it is very fashionable to hammer the Union Blue Collar Worker for the ills of society when upper management seat warmers are making two and times the salary of a Union Worker for shuffling paper.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:18 a.m.

@Irish Donn Your comment is based on...........................what? Fact, fiction? As a union employee who left the private sector holding three degrees I am guessing fiction.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

Ok, if the Union workers are jealous they should go to college and get a degree so they can get a management position! But it's too easy to make the money that they make now with absolutely no education.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

pay all but the cops and fireman minimum wage and that's probably 2x what they r worth.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:06 p.m.

I hope you meant that as joke.

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

@leaguebus I think you may want to re-read what this person wrote.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

Until someone robs you or your house starts on fire.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

The explosive increase in top administrative head count and the wages they make are the result of Roger Fraser's City Hall &quot;reorganization&quot; that cut union jobs while rewarding those at the top. This is typical of big private for profit business these days Cut those at the bottom, make those at the top wealthier. Is this what conservatives meant by making government more like business?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

Of course it's the unions who are getting the big bucks in city hall. About 5 years ago, the highest paid AFSCME employee made about $55,000 annually. What we've seen in the last 5 years is a huge increase in not only the wages and benefit packages of the highest paid employees, all non union, but an increase on the head count of highly paid administrative employees. Another example of redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top. Get rid of lower paid employees, replace some of them with privatized even lower paid workers all while increasing the pay and number of desk jockey administrators. But of course we need to increase their pay and benefits because in order to keep them we must give them competitive wages with the private sector. Who tells us this? Why, the highly paid administrators, college presidents, football coaches CEO's and investment bankers themselves!!!


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

@Applewhite One should not speak of what one does not know about. As a present UNION employee of the City of A2, who left the private sector, I hold Two Bachelor Degrees and ONE Masters Degree.

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 8 p.m.

The total compensation of a $55k/yr union member is near $100k. For a person without a college degree, that is much better than most college grads are able to get currently. Public unions have been largely shielded from the recession thus far, and therefore have no idea how bad things &quot;in the real world&quot; have become.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

Some of these comments are really making me laugh. For those of you who are making all the negative comments about the Union members please keep in mind one important FACT, there is not one single AFSCME member on either of the top 25 lists. So how can anyone blame AFSCME members for the money issues. As a matter of fact I just went through this whole list and the bottom ten paid City employees are members of AFSCME. So we're not at the top, we are at the bottom. @Ryan, thanks for posting this and showing the public the real numbers of the AFSCME members and the non-union members. I hope that anyone with common sense can now see the lies about the AFSCME compensation.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

Careful there Marshall... I'm a union member with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I'm not anywhere close to these numbers. And before you sing the same old song of &quot;well, you chose that line of work.&quot; You're 100% dead on. And I've never once complained about it. It's folks like you that seem to complain about folks like me. Have a great day and keep up the unfactual blogging.

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

How many union members have an agreement where their salary is 100% of their total compensation? Undoubtedly zero. In fact, in many cases, base salary is near half of total compensation for union members. On top of this, many people on the above list actually have college degrees and specialized skills. If a union member were to appear on the above list, society would be in a lot more trouble than we originally thought.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Interesting that we have a city administrator - responsible for the operations of our entire city -- who makes $100,000 LESS than our new AAPS superintendent. Really? That doesn't make sense to me. I believe we spend too much on government in general. I do not think the problem is primarily the salaries of people on the front line. The core of the problem is, as in most private business, management: bad decisions, poor planning, agreeing to bad contracts, short-term thinking. All of these management issues lead to too much overhead, unsustainable benefits, and unreasonable facilities. You can read that just as much for the city, AAPS, Borders, or GM.

Basic Bob

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

Managers at the places you mentioned also receive guaranteed contracts and buyout clauses, so they are insulated from their own bad decision. If Coach Hoke never wins a game for U-M, you can bet we will still be paying him years after his replacement arrives.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

These salaries are not surprising at all. As someone who has worked in Corporate America I can say that these are not high, and they certainly are not unjustified. I can't speak to the benefits packages or the pensions but considering the way these people are expected to work and the constant availability their jobs require these salaries are earned. Additionally a healthy benefits package would be warranted. Whether or not you agree with their politics, these are people who are incredibly dedicated to their work and devote huge amounts of time and energy to this city. Instead being upset about these salaries we should be looking at and criticizing (or complimenting) their work. If you don't like the work they do go to city council meetings, write to the mayor or council members or even just write to or call these folks directly. The worst thing you can do is stand mute if you are unhappy. And not that I advocate against commenting on these articles but that is not even close to sufficient for having your voice heard. If you have a point to make, get out there and make it. I know I am and if you don't agree with me it will be in your best interest to get out there and provide balance, or better yet support, because I love this city and I am happy to see it's administrators making a healthy living.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

I look at the salaries and they seem to be a little less than the private sector counterparts; but a better benefit package makes up for it! In other words, I think they are paid what they should be. I dont understand the comments seeking salaries and how invasive it is to post this information! These are PUBLIC employees and public sector salaries are in the news! Ann Arbor residents are paying these people and they have the absolute right to know what they are paying for ... You want transparancy but cry when it happens? Look at what happened in Detroit when there was ZERO accountability for how public officials behaved ... Get a clue people!


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

Did you notice that most of the secretaries are Admin lvl 5 getting paid $50--55k and getting retirement after 25 yrs. How much do secretaries in businesses get paid? How long do they have to work to retire? Do they even get a pension or just a 401k?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

Gulfstream, do you have the data to back up your claims? I don't know any union worker who was able to retire and start collecting 80% of their earnings at age 50, and yet you claim they are the majority.


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 8:31 a.m.

@sh1: I was referring to the non-union employees listed in the article.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

I think all these salaries are very realistic in todays market. At some point with the state cutting revenue sharing because we need to give tax breaks to &quot;business&quot; (half of which will fail in 5 years, anyway), we need to raise taxes in this city to maintain acceptable levels of public safety and other services. The TeaBag mentality of cutting taxes for the corporations and rich to make government smaller has got to go away. All we are doing is turning Michigan into a low tax, (not on the poor, of course) third rate state that no company would be caught dead bringing their business here. It takes public safety, educated citizens, and good infrastructure (especially roads) to bring new business to this state and the TeaBaggers are killing all this as quickly as they can on the state level.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Interesting article. The only FD person that made the list left because he was sick of dealing with this city and won't be replaced. Now let's see... who's the only group facing massive layoffs again after being the only ones to give concessions? Makes me sick to my stomach everytime I hear the city mention &quot;negotiating in good faith&quot;.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

Grossly OVERPAID. Then they complain if you ask them to pay more for health insurance. PATHETIC.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

I do have a 401k Marcus, and every nickel that goes in it comes from my paycheck. I get ZERO match on in. As to $10 million dollar bonuses, I find them silly and choose not to own stock in companies that give them. The one exception I am willing to make is for founders who really drive the company forward and developed the original ideas - Think Larry Page and Steve Jobs.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

Do you have a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan? How do you feel about some of the CEOs of companies you own receiving $10 million dollar bonus? That money could be paid as dividends to stockholders in instead.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

ronaldruck - Depends on how you count it. The city paid $46.2 million in salaries and over $30 million in retirement expenses. If we take a straight ratio that would mean the retirement is a benefit that would be worth $81,168 to Mr. Crawford. If that is so, then his total compensation would be $206,000 or about $22,000 out of the range. I am not taking into account any health care, insurance, car allowance, parking places or other possible benefits here, since none of those numbers are easily available. Since I am working a straight ratio, the value of the retirement may be more or less. Overpaid, that is up to the taxpayers to decide.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

DonBee Than I guess he's not grossly overpaid is he. That was Clownfish point.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

Clownfish - The range for CFO wages in the US, according to payscale is from $81,818 - $150,425, with benefits that range gets to $84,758 - $172,489. So Mr. Crawford is paid $125,000 plus benefits. I would say he is probably doing OK, in his role, given this comparison.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Overpaid compared to what? In a private company what would a CFO make for overseeing a similar budget and hundreds of employees?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

Next time there is talk about raising any cost to taxpayers in Ann Arbor, I'm sure city officials will be reminded of other ways to cover cost such as reducing their own salaries and benefits.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

How many of you readers have a job that allows you to retire after 25 years with a pension equal to 80% salary -- if you're fortunate to have a job at all? The majority of these people enjoy that benefit. What a great deal for them: start work at 25 years old and retire at 50 years old. Or, do what most of them do and start a new job at 51 while taxpayers continue to pay them. I won't bore anyone with the math, but if that person lives to be the average 75 years old, we'll have paid them more to NOT work for us than we did when they were working for us. Is it just me, or does something wrong with this? (Perhaps could provide more details of city-backed pensions.)

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

I want 60 year-old cops and firemen on duty!!! No retirement for cops and firemen until age 65!! Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 8:47 a.m.

@Terminal: I was referring to the non-union employees that this article is all about -- not AFSCME or any of the other unions. Sounds like we might be making the same case that the non-union retirement packages are out of line with the rest of the working world these days...


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Overtime was not in the budget. I might have worked 100 hrs overtime in 26 years. That's about 50,000 hrs give or take a few.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

Terminal - Your base pay or what you earned? If you worked overtime, you deserved and got extra pay. If you are basing your 50% of that, then your number is misleading as well. 63+26= 89 which fits most of the age+service = 85 or more formulas in the state.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

I worked for the city for 26 years, retired at age 63 and my retirement is less than half of my annual pay at it's highest. AFSCME. Get your facts straight and stop spreading misinformation that fits your political agenda.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

Compare this to the top 25 salaries at the University of Michigan! Most of that budget comes from taxpayers and tuition.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

@Phil K- The UM gets $1.1 billion in federal research grants (taxpayers money), they get $2.2 billion for providing medical care (a substantial portion of which is from Medicare/Medicaid) and $1.5 billion from the general fund (mostly tuition &amp; state funding). Thus, salaries come from tax dollars other than what is in the general fund. The website you reference only give the base salary. In the medical school much of the salary is classified as a &quot;clinical supplement&quot; for seeing patients, and an &quot;administrative supplement&quot; for administrative functions such as lab director or section chief. Thus the 13 top salaries in the law school probably do not approach the total salaries of many in the medical school.

Phil K.

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

Incorrect. Of the top the top 25 paid employees, only 5 actually get the majority of their income from a salary that comes out of the general fund. For example, Dave Bradon is on that list, but his salary is out of the self-funded athletic department. Your tax dollars don't pay him. You pay him buy buying tickets to games or watching games on TV. 13 of the top 25 salaries at the U are Law School lecturers, and of their salaries are approximately 90/10 splits between department revenue (which in the science departments is generated by doing research, which private companies *love* to pay the U for, or through patents created at and held by the university) and general fund obligations. If you want to see how &quot;your tax dollars&quot; (which don't actually fund a whole heckuva lot at the U, depending on what department you're talking about) get spent on salary, you can. It's public record, and someone took the time to aggregate the data here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

Nobody is asking the right question, everybody seems to want to jump to conclusions and assume that these people are overpaid because they are on the public payroll. What is a reasonable salary for a civil engineer with 20+ years experience? According to national salary data, about 90k/year. IT Senior Applications Specialist? Ross Perot pays 90-110k/year. Insurance companies about 90-110k Project Managers? 100-110k/year. Seems to me if one wants govt &quot;to be run like a business&quot; then these salaries are market valued. If one wants to attract good people, then one needs to offer pay to attract them, like a business.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

johnnya2 - I did not say I wanted to change the rules, and if I did, I would want to change it for NEW employees. I get tired of people not putting it all out there to discuss. People on both sides of the debate would rather debate feelings and myths than numbers. The Green Bay Progressive has proudly taken a union stance. I would suggest you look for two or three more sources before you decide.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

Don Bee, you are just plain wrong. They may be getting more currently in some areas, but over their career a public employee does NOT get more. Part of the deal for lower pay, is better benefits. They made that choice. People like you want to change the rules after the fact. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

Clownfish - If the pay, benefits and retirement are all rolled up and looked at as a Total Cost per employee, these numbers jump up to and can exceed private payrolls. Most private employers contribute nothing to retirement. Most public sector jobs provide most or all of the retirement funds. Most private employees have to work to 65 to get any retirement benefits, many public sector employees can retire at 55 years of age and 30 years of service, or whichever combination makes 85. Most private employees who have health insurance pay 20 percent or more of their health care premiums and see deductibles and co-pays that are double the average public sector policy. Should I go on? Only if you compare the whole package can you make a reasonable comparison. Then only job by job.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

I'm not so interested in the salary as the benefits packages. To me the salaries aren't all that much - feel free to look at U of M salaries if you disagree...


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

How is it that this sort of (very informative) article doesn't come out during election season in Ann Arbor Mr. Stanton? Are you just thinking of it now or did the city drag out FOIA requests or whatever? That would be interesting to know too.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

The fact is, the salary of everyone in the USA is too high. The only exception being us commenters who haven't had a raise in ten years and spend a few moments each day complaining about the salaries of others. Shared sacrifice. Eliminate currency! How dare someone expect a reasonable salary? The nerve! What next, having to pay for water? It's all around us folks! :)

John B.

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

Um, I think MMBE was being what they call 'sarcastic.'


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

If you live in the city or on city water, you already do pay for water.

Bertha Venation

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

#18 Nancy Walker??? Really??? We've got Rhoda's Mom working for us??? (thought she passed).


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

Rhoda's mom and Mildred from MacMillan and Wife.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

Who are the Top 25 highest-paid UNION employees in Ann Arbor city government?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

The Deputy Police Chiefs and Lieutenants are Union employees. If you follow the link it has every employee. All the police and firefighters are union employees. Most the Clerical staff and supervisors are teamsters and most of the rest are AFSCME.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

You're wrong. I've read the contract, have you? The AFSCME contract has very little wiggle room for &quot;extra's&quot; and please tell what you mean by &quot;extra's&quot; it's a term fraught with misinterpretation. Most of the &quot;extra's&quot; come on the form of overtime etc and AFSCME workers are severely restricted in overtime as departmental budgets are so tight that OT is a luxury not in most dept budgets.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

Terminal - You are right, the base pay or pay range is there. But, when you go into the contract and look at all the extras someone can earn, what they make is not so clear.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

Union employee wages are public information and can be found in the city job descriptions. Attaching a name to a job description makes no difference and little sense and only opens up the opportunity for harassment of union employees in a time of prejudice against unions.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

Without an FOIA and some hard work, you will never get it, just like you will never get it from other units of government. Union contracts have all sorts of clauses that make the base rates only a fraction of the total pay. Overtime, weekend pay, holiday pay, supervision credits, education credit, longevity pay, pay for unused holidays, pay for unused vacation, shift differentials, milage and more. When you start reading public union contracts the number of different ways folks get paid is pretty astounding.

Steve Hendel

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

@cash: I think we are saying the same thing-of course it was technology that was the big ULTIMATE reason the News folded. I do recall that their circulation had been declining for at least a few years, as had ad revenue. To fiddle with your analogy, the proximate for the horse merchant wad the decline in the sales of horses; the REASON for that decline is, as we say, a 'horse of a different color.'

Stephen Landes

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

Yeah, any color you wanted as long as it was black (H.F.)


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

@Steve Hendel &quot;If I were in charge, I would present a stark alternative to the voters: if you want current service levels maintained/improved (police/fire response times, park maintenance schedules,refuse pickup, etc,) then you will need to approve some additional funding-whether it is a Headlee override, an income tax, whatever. &quot;There ain't no such thing as free lunch&quot; as a philosopher once said.&quot; He said while drawing his tax paid pension!


Fri, Apr 8, 2011 : 1:47 a.m.

johnnyA2 I am not at all against public employees getting a pension! I do believe the taxpayers have the right to scrutinize the amount of those pensions when we are asked to pay more in taxes to fund them. I was merely pointing out that when Steve Hendel suggest that taxpayers simply fork over more money his view is somewhat prejudiced.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

I am wondering if you complain about military personel drawing a pension? How about police? These are both paid with tax payer dollars. Oh thats right, the right wing thinks military pensions are ok, but anybody else is up for grabs. I'd prefer a good park system and my trash picked up than invading Iraq and Afghanistan increasing the socialist system in the military.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

Terminal Hope it did not sound like I thought the wages were not earned. And I agree once earned they belong to the earner. But the bottom line is if it were not for the &quot;Taxpayers&quot; you would not have any wages to earn or contribute to your pension.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

Whoa right there, yes the wages came from &quot;Taxpayers&quot; but they were rightfully earned and belong to the earner regardless of where they came from.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

It was not my intent to suggest that all public employee's are freeloaders or that they are the one's receiving a &quot;free lunch&quot;. Only that, while you say you contributed to your pension for over 30 years I did the same. The difference is your contribution came from tax payer money mine did not. You say &quot;There ain't no such thing as free lunch&quot; if I want the same services you say I have to pay for them. Agreed. But if you want the same services (benefits and salary) I have to pay for those also.

Steve Hendel

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

Yes, and one I earned and contributed to over 30 years. The public can decide if you got your money's worth or not. BTW, I can be more critical than any of these commentators about how the City carries out it's functions; just read MY previous comments on: the AATA's planned expansion; the DDA's spending sprees; etc.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

How about a list of the top paid Ann Arbor Public Schools employees, non-union and union?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

A very good idea too rayjay.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

thank you for the list . it's long over do but too short let's see department by department like they are doing to police and fire. How much is the mayor's staff costing us or Fraser's staff? I really don't give a hoot how much anyone at makes . The U of M can pay big salary's because they use all the city services for FREE. The city of AA needs to start charging for services rendered.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

I would like to thank for performing this service. Whether you think city employees earn too much or not this type of inquiry is necessary to keep the bureaucrats in check.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

All of those city attorneys....just to prevent the public know, the taxpayers who pay their salaries?......from obtaining public information through FOIAs. Don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Taxpayers really are quite the fools aren't we?

Will Warner

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

FYI Cash. Somebody is maybe stealing your identity. On another thread somebody is using this picture and the name Ca$h to post things that don't sound like you. See <a href=""></a>


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

Ha - beat me to it.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

Yes indeed Cash. And even more so when you consider that the folks who hired all these guys got elected by us mostly with out any opposition! Unanimity implies consent does it not?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

Isn't it interesting that the UM police chief makes $182,000 and the Ann Arbor chief makes $126,500. Why does UM have so much money to waste? Oh, I forgot, they can just raise tuition a little more.

Steve Hendel

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.

I am a former City employee who would NOT have made the Top 25, but probably would rest right in the middle of the next level down, I.e. middle management. I have kept contact with my former co-workers, and I can tell you that the City's policy of maintaining service levels while cutting staffing/budgets has resulted in a highly stressed, hard working and not-at-all pampered work force. If I were in charge, I would present a stark alternative to the voters: if you want current service levels maintained/improved (police/fire response times, park maintenance schedules,refuse pickup, etc,) then you will need to approve some additional funding-whether it is a Headlee override, an income tax, whatever. &quot;There ain't no such thing as free lunch&quot; as a philosopher once said. By the way, for all you commenters who want to know about or it's parent company salaries: you VOLUNTARILY support the 'paper' by buying it's product, patronizing it's advertisers, etc. The fact that not enough people did that is what caused the Ann Arbor News' demise. The fact that you have no choice when you are taxed to help pay my salary/pension as a City employee/retiree gives you certain rights to know what you're getting for your money that do not apply to staff.

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

&quot;I can tell you that the City's policy of maintaining service levels while cutting staffing/budgets has resulted in a highly stressed, hard working and not-at-all pampered work force.&quot; We are currently recovering from the the biggest economic downturn since the great depression. Frankly, I think A2 public officials should be happy to have a job, and shouldn't have the expectation of some &quot;pampered&quot; middle-management position. Public employees have been largely shielded from the recession thus far, and the fact that they're complaining about not being &quot;pampered&quot; enough is one of the most laughable things I've witnessed all day.

Audion Man

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

The Ann Arbor News died because the Newhouse family killed it- nothing more. The answer to competition for newspapers seems to be, &quot;gut your product, then fold.&quot;


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:06 p.m. you know for a fact that lack of newspaper sales caused Ann Arbor News to fold? Isn't the demise of the paper more a result of the electronic age? I mean, you could say that cars replaced horses because not enough people bought horses .


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:15 a.m.

Why the distinction of non-union? Was it because these people wouldn't have even made the list if you included the collective bargaining rights unions? I think I remember a peice where you listed all the police salary's, if I remember correctly, they would have destroyed this list.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 8 p.m.

And no firefighters except the Chief make the list. I do not know about the firefighters but most of the poice officers have degrees.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

ronaldduck, The difference is the majority of the non union workers probably have a degree and the union workers do not.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

As stated at the beginning of the article &quot;There's been a lot of talk lately about the level of compensation provided to union employees in the public sector, but what do the nonunion employees make?&quot; I don't know if the second list was added after you commented, but if you look at that you will see that with the exception of the chief's none of the police officers would make the list of top 25 salaries.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:11 a.m.

Ryan, what is the average income in the state? Probably less than 50K


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

According to the University of New Mexico the average wages in Michigan are: $43,120 in 2009, down about $600 from 2008 and flat from 2006. These numbers are NOT adjusted for inflation.

average joe

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:10 a.m.

How many Lawyers does one city need on it's payroll? Seven (on both lists) seems like a lot.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Someone has to be there to fight all the FOIA requests!


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:08 a.m.

These salaries are paid by taxpayers. Ann salaries aren't. Come on. I realize if you or someone you care about is on the list (I'm offended that Mr Murray who just passed away wasn't removed from the list) it's not something you want to see. But it is public information. This is what happens when Ann does what we ask them to do.....dig and get information. Now, we might not like what they find.....but don't shoot the messenger.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

Well Nikki, try and change the law then.

Nikki River

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

When Wall Street execs take billions while running the economy into the ground, I lose MY job. When oil execs get millions in bonuses, MY gasoline prices go up ... and people defend those salaries as needed in order to get the best talent. EVERYBODY'S salaries ARE our business. Don't pretend that there's something unique about public employee salaries. Every dollar paid to every person in the country - public or private - comes from us all.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:48 a.m.

&quot; has filed a FOIA request to find out Fraser's total income for each of the last nine years. He was not willing to provide that information voluntarily.&quot; Really...? Seriously... who would? Ryan, why don't you share with your readers (both of them) what your income has been for the last 14 years?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

So, you really care what Ryans salary is? I don't, since not a penny of my tax dollars winds up in his pocket or any other employee of a private organization. I do think it is unusual for the City Manager to refuse to divulge his or anyone else's salary without forceing a reporter to seek that information under a ROIA request. Many of these employees could not make this kind of money plus their benefits in the private sector. How about $186,910 plus approximately $30k-40K in benefits for the water treatment plant supervisor and his assistant?


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:44 a.m.

Wow, thank god we are cutting school budgets and attacking the pay of teachers, firefighters, and police officers! After seeing this I think we can all agree that those evil union employees are the reason that the city, and the state of Michigan is going bankrupt. I would like to see a followup article that would document the benefits that said non-union employees are getting on top of their salary.


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:57 a.m.

I agree. That may amount to more than the base salary.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:20 a.m.

There's one name on this list who makes around $50K plus a year and is an contributor who has interviewed city officials, including the Mayor, for your publication. Does have any sort of journalism ethics code you can share with your readers?

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 10:14 a.m.

Who are the top 25 paid staff members? Lol. Can you start with the Newhouse Family please? Thanks.