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Ann Arbor Pays Thousands Monthly in Car Allowances and Mileage Reimbursements to City Employees With Desk Jobs

According to information provided to A2Politico in response to a FOIA, in Ann Arbor government, an attorney, planning department staffers, police officers, and even a DDA employee receive stipends worth $50 to $400 a month to put toward vehicles despite doing the majority of their work in city offices, or being provided a city vehicle for daily use. The stipends are paid to city employees who are among the most highly paid, and to many who live in the city.

Recently, it was revealed by A2Politico that the city’s elected officials have been looking the other way as $3.592 million dollars have been skimmed from the city’s Parks Millage Fund in the form of internal charges that have increased, in some cases, by as much as 400 percent over the past three years. In fact, a recently proposed cut to parks funding was revealed to violate city policy. In a piece posted to AnnArbor.com, Third Ward Council member Christopher Taylor was quoted as saying:

“We live in very difficult times. As you know, there are material cuts being proposed in safety services,” said Council Member Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward and an ex-officio member of PAC. “Another $90,000 is approximately one officer, approximately one firefighter.”

Taylor said there would need to be a permanent lasting cut somewhere else in the budget to restore that $90,000 to parks.

Shortly after Taylor’s claim that it was virtually impossible for Council to make a “permanent cut”  to restore the $90,000, a forensic Certified Public Accountant whom A2Politico asked to comb through this year’s proposed budget, identified instances in which there were millions in surpluses, as well as almost $4 million dollars in what were described as “pork projects,” primarily non-essential spending on new vehicles. The CPA also revealed that Ann Arbor city staffers have developed a multi-million dollar addiction to consultants, including remarkably, a desire to hire a consultant to help Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones decided whom to promote in his department of just 124 officers.

A2Politico also revealed recently that in the midst of growing budget woes, non-unionized Ann Arbor city staffers, some of the same staffers who are receiving monthly car allowances and mileage reimbursement payments to drive to and from work each day, have been allowed to spend tens of thousands of dollars on meals out, as well as on stays at luxury hotels, resorts & spas. In one instance, just days after staff recommended that firefighters be cut to close a budget gap, taxpayers treated staffers to an $871.50 meal at Afternoon Delight. In March 2009 Ann Arbor taxpayers also footed the bill for a $382.60 room charge at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, a $427.14 charge for a room at the Hilton, in Miami, Florida and a $578.91 room charge at the Omni Hotels Royal Hotel & Resort in New Orleans, Louisiana, a hotel described thusly on its web site: “The Omni Royal Orleans is a four-diamond luxury hotel located in the historic French Quarter.”

Recipients of the car allowances are among the most highly paid city employees—earning six-figure salaries plus over-sized benefit packages worth, on average $12,300 per year, more than double the marketplace average. City Attorney Stephen Postema receives a car allowance of $330.00 per month, which increases his $141,538 salary by $3,960 per year. Postema lives on Ann Arbor’s Old West Side and often walks to work. Public Services Director Sue McCormick, on the other hand, lives outside of Ann Arbor and commutes some 55 miles each way to and from work. FOIAed documents show that McCormick, who earns $135,600, gets $300 per month.

Ann Arbor’s Downtown Development Authority, over the past several years, has doubled the number of staff the organization employs. The organization has also given hundreds of thousands of dollars of support to the getDowntown organization which encourages residents to explore using alternative transportation in order to commute to their jobs downtown. Among the programs is the go!pass program that provides bus passes. Under the auspices of the getDowntown program, Ann Arbor taxpayers are subsidizing bus rides for approximately 6,700 downtown workers, as well as students and staff of the University of Michigan (through the MCard—tip o’ the keyboard to Nancy Shore). go!pass bus passes cost downtown employers just $5 per employee per year.

Susan Pollay is the executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority and on the Advisory Board of the getDowntown organization. She told AnnArbor.com in 2010 that, “The DDA has been a committed supporter of the go!pass program as a partner in the getDowntown program for more than a decade.” In fact, Pollay handed out commuting “awards” last year which included an award for total number of sustainable commutes. Like Stephen Postema, Susan Pollay is one of the most highly paid city employees, earning $94,689. Pollay, who has a desk job, and who lives in Ann Arbor, is also paid a $315.63 per month car allowance. A go!pass for the DDA’s Executive Director would cost taxpayers $5 per year, versus the $3,787.56 car allowance she is paid in addition to her salary and benefits.

Like Pollay and Postema, Interim Administrator and CFO Tom Crawford is on the list of the most highly paid city employees; he earns $125,500 plus benefits. Desk jockey Crawford, who lives in Ann Arbor, also gets a monthly car allowance in the amount of $350.00.

Police Chief Barnett Jones, who has an office job as well as an entire fleet of police vehicles at his disposal for travel in the city, receives the largest monthly car allowance, $400. This is equal to that of former City Administrator Roger Fraser’s monthly car allowance. Fraser was fond of charging taxpayers for mileage. FOIAed documents show that while driving to a 2005 conference in Minneapolis, Fraser claimed over $846.33 in mileage costs for the 1,800 mile trip. The Rand-McNally mileage calculator lists the roundtrip mileage between Ann Arbor and Minneapolis as 1,310 miles. Fraser’s assistant, who accompanied him on the trip flew, and expense account records FOIAed show her airfare was just over $218.40.

All total, Ann Arbor taxpayers fork out over $100,000 in car allowance and mileage reimbursement money each year to 25 highly-paid, non-unionized city managers, most of whom have desk jobs. A list of the staffers who receive the benefit appears below:

Detail Earnings by Employee


City of Ann Arbor Master Company


Select: Company is CAA – City of Ann Arbor and Earnings Code is CAR


Sort Order: Service Area(Asc), Service Unit(Asc)


Pay Period Range: 201104010 – 201104309






Employee
Earn
Name Number code Monthly Amt
Service Area: ATTRN – City Attorney


Service Unit: ATTORN – City Attorney


Postema, Stephen K. 02527 CAR $330.00




Service Unit: ATTORN – City Attorney



Totals
$330.00
Service Area: ATTRN – City Attorney



Totals
$330.00












Service Area: CITYAD – City Administrator


Service Unit: CITYAD – City Administrator






Fraser, Roger W. 01771 CAR $400.00
Service Unit: CITYAD – City Administrator



Totals
$400.00
Service Area: CITYAD – City Administrator



Totals
$400.00












Service Area: COMSRV – Community Services


Service Unit: PARKS – Parks & Recreation






Straw, Jeffrey D. 13811 CAR $200.00
Smith, Colin 00878 CAR $200.00




Service Unit: PARKS – Parks & Recreation



Totals
$400.00








Service Unit: PLAN – Planning & Development






Bahl, Sumedh 00234 CAR $300.00
Welton Jr., Ralph R. 14078 CAR $150.00




Service Unit: PLAN – Planning & Development



Totals
$450.00
Service Area: COMSRV – Community Services



Totals
$850.00












Service Area: DDA – Downtown Development Agen


Service Unit: DDA – Downtown Development Auth


Pollay, Susan 02015 CAR $315.63




Service Unit: DDA – Downtown Development Auth



Totals
$315.63




Service Area: DDA – Downtown Development Agen


Service Area: DDA – Downtown Development Agen





$315.63
Service Area: FINAN – Finance & Administrative


Service Unit: ASSESS – City Assessor


Courtney, Michael S.
CAR $180.00
Weber, Annette M.
CAR $180.00
Forner, Patricia R.
CAR $180.00
Balogh, Amy
CAR $180.00
Petrak, David R.
CAR $180.00
Doletzky, Ryan E.
CAR $180.00




Service Unit: ASSESS – City Assessor





$1,080.00








Service Unit: FINADM – Finance Administration






Crawford, Thomas E.
CAR $350.00




Service Unit: FINADM – Finance Administration





$350.00
Service Area: FINAN – Finance & Administrative





$1,430.00












Service Area: PUBSRV – Public Services


Service Unit: FIELD – Field Operations






Konwinski, Julian M.
CAR $50.00
Service Unit: FIELD – Field Operations





$50.00












Service Unit: FLEET – Fleet Services






Crum, Dennis L.
CAR $300.00




Service Unit: FLEET – Fleet Services





$300.00












Service Unit: PSAD – Public Services Administr


Kulhanek, Matthew J.
CAR $300.00
Cariano, Robert L.
CAR $300.00
McCormick, Susan F.
CAR $300.00




Service Area: PUBSRV – Public Services


Service Unit: PSAD – Public Services Administr


Service Unit: PSAD – Public Services Administr





$900.00
Service Unit: SYSTEM – System Planning


Hupy, Craig CAR
$300.00




Service Unit: SYSTEM – System Planning





$300.00












Service Unit: WWTP – Wastewater Treatment Serv






Kenzie, Earl J. CAR
$300.00
Service Unit: WWTP – Wastewater Treatment Serv





$300.00
Service Area: PUBSRV – Public Services





$1,850.00












Service Area: SAFETY – Safety Services


Service Unit: FIRE – Fire






Dziubinski, Edwin J. CAR
$375.00
Hubbard, Ollice CAR
$375.00




Service Unit: FIRE – Fire





$750.00








Service Unit: POLICE – Police






Seto, John Y. CAR
$375.00
Bazick, Gregory D. CAR
$375.00
Jones, W B. CAR
$400.00




Service Unit: POLICE – Police





$1,150.00
Service Area: SAFETY – Safety Services





$1,900.00


 

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Short URL: http://www.a2politico.com/?p=8253

15 Comments for “Ann Arbor Pays Thousands Monthly in Car Allowances and Mileage Reimbursements to City Employees With Desk Jobs”

  1. Congratulations on a super site

  2. Alan Goldsmith

    Wow, it’s been a few days since this was originally posted and…over an sleeping lapdog media outlet AnnArbor.com, the big story is about a bunch of balloons that landed in Wheeler Park. Media watchdog my ass.

  3. From FACEBOOK: “I hope the taxpaying citizens of A2 are aware of this the next time they have to pay for their own sidewalk repair or snow removal or else be body-slammed financially with unreasonable fines! This is so not right and this type of overt fiscal irresponsibilty speaks volumes.”—Deb Anderson

  4. Well, let’s see here, those who provide the least to the community, give them the most perks. Those who put their lives on the line… let’s get rid of those people. Ridiculous!

  5. Thanks for lifting up the rug agin, A2P. Sure is dirty under there!

  6. Also, I’m being told that Sue NcCormick and Bob Cariano carpool together everyday. Outrageous scam by people in chargeand Sue who wants to lead the city.

  7. What’s shameful about this is that Bob Cariano and Sue McCormick commute from the Lansing area together and both are receiving car allowances. Crooks if you ask me.

  8. Ann Arbor, the town where really smart people pay the city Cadillac prices for Yugo level services (because they’re smart and they just know that the more you pay, the more it’s worth! Duh…well maybe someday.)

    Drain the buckets! No layoffs! <== how's that for a yard sign?

  9. From FACEBOOK: “I hope the taxpaying citizens are aware of this the next time they have to pay for their own sidewalk repair or snow removal or else be body-slammed financially with unreasonable fines! This is so not right and this type ofovert fiscal irresponsibilty resonates deeply to me and why Irefuse to ever live there.”—Deb Anderson

  10. Thank you for exposing another gravy train by those holding the purse strings. For years these car allowances have been another way for the management team to reward themselves. The public should be outraged that they are paying people to drive back and forth to work or in some cases to walk. City vehicles are assessable to practically all of these people once they arrive at work. Shame on them all. Remember this as Sue McCormick pursues the City Administrators position.

  11. @Nancy, thanks for the comment! We’re going to disagree on this one for the following reasons:

    All of the revenue taken in by the DDA belongs to taxpayers, of course. The DDA simply manages the parking and deposits the money generated in a parking fund to distinguish that revenue from tax revenue; it’s partially for accounting purposes. Any and all money spent by the DDA is money that belongs to the people who own the structures and support the DDA through taxation—taxpayers.

    U of M does not pay for those rides in full, of course, but only a percentage of the cost of each ride. Thus, while U of M pays a part of the cost of the MCard, taxpayers foot a portion of the cost, as well, through the perpetual millage paid by homeowners to the AATA, some $400 per year, per household, on average.

    Ted Annis, before he left the AATA Board was very vocal in his call to have U of M pay the actual cost of each ride so as to relieve the burden of the subsidy from taxpayers.

  12. Thanks for the article. I’ve got a couple of clarifications for you:

    “Under the auspices of that program, Ann Arbor taxpayers are subsidizing bus rides for approximately 6,700 downtown workers, as well as students and staff of the University of Michigan. go!pass bus passes cost downtown employers just $5 per employee per year.”

    The subsidy for go!passes comes out of the DDA parking fund, so Ann Arbor taxpayers are not paying for go!passes.

    Also, go!passes are not provided to any UM students or staff. Those employees have unlimited rides with their MCard. The UM subsidizes these rides.

    Please feel free to contact me in the future if you have any questions about our program.

    Nancy Shore
    getDowntown Program Director
    nancy@getdowntown.org

  13. Alan Goldsmith

    But in all fairness Pat, I’m sure Postema spends his few extra grand a year on really GREAT walking shoes. GO PASSES and public transportation and bringing your own lunch to work are for the little people suckers.

  14. From FACEBOOK: “Why doesn’t this surprise me. I wish more folks would take a look.”—Lois Mayfield

  15. A2P you are wicked funny and I can’t thank you enough for having the good sense to point out that Susan Pollay is a big fat hypocrite. Buy them all go!passes. That would cut the amount spend on this particular perk to under $125 per year and Ann Arbor city government would be supporting alternative transportation just like Hizzoner says the city does. Paying a car allowance to someone who lives in Ann Arbor is just another way to pay that person more money. These employees need to step away from the public trough.

    Are Council members potted plants? Do they pay attention to anything? First hotels, spas and $3,000 dinners out. Now this. Great work.

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