Who Are Ann Arbor’s Own 1 Percent? Hint: Many Work for Local Nonprofits & In the Public Sector

The New York Times recently published a feature about the 1 Percent. Reporters Shaila Dewan and Robert Gebeloff write: “Now, the colossal gap between the very rich and everyone else — the 1 percent versus the 99 percent — has become a rallying point in this election season….” It takes an income of $380,000 per year to join the 1 Percent Club nationally. The average income of the 1 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center, is $1.5 million, and the superrich — the 120,000 tax filers that make up the top tenth of this group — earned an estimated average of $6.8 million in 2011.

Of course, wealth is relative, particularly as regards to where one lives.

In Ann Arbor, an annual income of $157,200 will put you in the top 10 percent, while an income of $207,000 will boost you into the top 5 percent, and an income of over $359,000 will put you into the top 1 percent both city and state-wide. Looking at the income distribution for Ann Arbor in 2009, nearly 19 percent of earners made between $100,000 and $200,000. Seventeen percent earned between $20,000 and $40,000. The bottom 10 percent of earners bring home $14,884 per year, and the bottom 25 percent of residents have to make ends meet on just $31,417 per year.

Just as is the case nationally, the gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 10 percent on Ann Arbor has grown significantly over the past decade. Unemployment is stubbornly high, and pay for non-public sector workers in the area has stagnated or even fallen. Meanwhile, jobs funded with public money in Ann Arbor are some of the most high-paying gigs around. For instance, Ann Arbor’s elected officials are particularly generous with taxpayer money, giving our cash-strapped city (and school district) the dubious honor of paying our public employees some of the most stratospheric salaries in the state and, in some cases, the country.

Ann Arbor has the highest paid city administrator in the state. City Council awarded the new administrator Steve Powers, who had been earning $88,250 at his previous job, a salary of $145,000 per year. Our city attorney, Stephen Postema, earns a base salary of $141,538, making him the highest paid city attorney in Michigan.

In September 2011, former Ann Arbor News reporter Tom Gantert did what he does best: published the truth. In point of fact, writing for Michigan Capitol Confidential, Gantert published information about the pay of staffers at the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority:

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority has a nearly $1 million deficit projected for fiscal 2011-12 at a time when its top executives are among the highest paid transit bosses in the state.

The AATA has eight employees making $90,000 or more, according to a Freedom of Information Act request. The AATA has 171 employees and a $21.4 million operating budget.

Grand Rapids, which has 308 employees and a $31.9 million operating budget, had four employees making $90,000 or more. Flint, which has a $21 million operating budget, has two employees making $90,000 or more.

Jackson Transit Agency’s highest paid employee is the general manager, who makes $75,524.

The Kalamazoo Metro Transit has one employee making $90,000 or more. The executive director made $102,861 in 2010.

Michael Ford (left) earns $183,895. The head of the AATA also gets a $10,000 car allowance. Dawn Gabay, deputy CEO of AATA, takes in $116,289. Life is large for those managers lucky enough to work for AATA, which takes in approximately $8-$10 million dollars per year from a perpetual millage levied on Ann Arbor homeowners.

So who else is at the top of the food chain here in Tree Town? For starters, Patricia Green is living large in the top 5 percent. She’s the AAPS School Superintendent whom the Board of Education president Deb Mexicotte and three others pushed to pay $245,000 per year, a $75,000 bump in pay from what the previous sup. was paid. According to Jay P. Goldman, editor of The School Administrator, superintendents in the Midwest average $180,000 per year, as do superintendents in districts with between 10,000-24,999 students (AAPS enrollment is around 16,000). Green’s salary would be more appropriate for a sup. who oversaw a school district of 25,000 students or more.

Then again, in 2009 Greenhills School, which Governor Snyder’s daughter attends, had revenues of $10.9 million, employed 175 people and had an enrollment of 530 students. Headmaster Peter Fayroian earned $244,219 (another solid 5 Percenter in the local education marketplace), making his per pupil pay much higher than Superintendent Patricia Green’s, who’s getting paid just a few cents per child enrolled. Be that as it may, Patricia Green is not only the most highly paid school superintendent in Michigan, she is among the most highly paid public school superintendents in the United States.

Dr. Mary Sue Coleman is firmly ensconced in the 1 Percent. She’s among the nation’s 10 most highly paid college presidents with a salary of $783,103, plus bennies. In September 2009, she valiantly requested a pay freeze, “due to the state of Michigan’s economy.” In October of 2010, evidently with Michigan’s economy no longer in a state, she said nothing but “thanks,” as Regents voted her a 3 percent salary increase.

The University of Michigan is rich with 1 Percenters. Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, in fact, after hearing from students in the Occupy Colleges movement composed a letter to President Obama suggesting ways to curb college costs, including more taxpayer money. She did not, however, suggest bringing the salaries of her own employees out of the 1 Percent County Club. There are about two dozen U of M employees who earn $359,000 and above, according to the 2011 salary information available to the public. They include deans, provosts and hospital administrators:

Hirschel,Alison E LEO Intermittent Lecturer Law School 756,880.00 8-Month 0.06
Pescovitz,Ora H EXEC VPMA Non PTO – Operating 739,025.00 12-Month 1.00
Drogula,Jennifer M ADJUNCT CLIN ASST PROFESSOR Law School 731,337.34 8-Month 0.06
Davis,James Michael LEO Intermittent Lecturer Ross School of Business 672,492.16 8-Month 0.12
Niehuss,John Marvin LEO Intermittent Lecturer Law School 618,104.66 8-Month 0.12
Strong,Douglas L CEO System Hospital UMH Administration 612,000.00 12-Month 1.00
Connors,Timothy LEO Lecturer I Law School 609,145.78 8-Month 0.09
Hurley,Daniel R LEO Lecturer I Law School 609,145.34 8-Month 0.06
Hertz,Howard LEO Intermittent Lecturer Law School 605,984.00 8-Month 0.06
Brandon,David A DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS Athletics 600,454.40 12-Month 1.00
Kethledge,Raymond M LEO Intermittent Lecturer Law School 599,000.00 8-Month 0.09
Coleman,Mary Sue PRESIDENT Office of the President 585,782.89 12-Month 1.00
Lundberg,Leiv Erik Investment Top Executive Chief Investment Officer (CIO) 575,000.00 12-Month 1.00
Bates Jr,Percy Faculty Athl Representative Office of the President 560,211.54 12-Month 0.05
Slottow,Timothy P Chief Fin Officer & Top Exec Office of Executive VP & CFO 551,668.00 12-Month 1.00
Davis-Blake,Alison DEAN Ross School of Business 550,000.00 12-Month 1.00
Loeks,Barrie Lawson LEO Intermittent Lecturer Law School 546,666.66 8-Month 0.06
Woolliscroft,James O DEAN Medical School Administration 524,509.00 12-Month 1.00
Hanlon,Philip J PROVOST/EXEC VP ACAD AFF Ofc Provost & Exec VP Acad Aff 485,040.00 12-Month 1.00
Munson Jr,David Clair DEAN CoE Dean 470,195.00 12-Month 1.00
Caminker,Evan H DEAN Law School 457,964.00 12-Month 1.00
Dolan,Robert J PROFESSOR Ross School of Business 448,155.00 12-Month 1.00
Denton,Anthony Chief Operating Officer Hlth UMH Administration 442,000.00 12-Month 1.00
Rosenbaum,Mark D LEO Lecturer II Law School 441,492.69 8-Month 0.40
Kelch,Robert P Special Assistant to the EVPMA Ofc of Exec VP for Med Affairs 421,052.63 12-Month 0.11
McDonald,Terrence J DEAN LSA Dean: Dean’s Office 415,880.00 12-Month 1.00
Polverini,Peter J DEAN DENT Dean’s Office&Fac Affairs 415,140.00 12-Month 1.00
Green,Saul Adair LEO Lecturer II Law School 413,001.33 8-Month 0.06
Levy,Judith E LEO Lecturer II Law School 413,001.33 8-Month 0.06
Courant,Paul N UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN Library Dean – General 398,102.00 12-Month 1.00
Muraszko,Karin M PROFESSOR Neurosurgery 392,436.00 12-Month 1.00
Chesler,Mark PROFESSOR EMERITUS/A LSA Sociology 387,096.78 8-Month 0.31
Kolars,Joseph C SR ASSOC DEAN Medical School Administration 381,217.00 12-Month 0.90
Watson Jr,Stanley J PROFESSOR Psychiatry Department 375,392.00 12-Month 0.25
Watson Jr,Stanley J RESEARCH PROFESSOR Molecular & Behav Neurosc Inst 375,391.00 12-Month 0.75
Potempa,Kathleen Marie DEAN School of Nursing 371,026.00 12-Month 1.00
Bagian,James P CLINICAL PROFESSOR Center for Health Engineering 370,000.00 12-Month 1.00
Kolars,Joseph C PROFESSOR Int Med-Gastroenterology 368,251.00 12-Month 0.10
Forrest,Stephen R VP RESEARCH Office of VP for Research 365,348.45 12-Month 1.00

There are another several hundred U of M professors and administrators whose salaries ranged from $207,000 to $358,000 per year, putting them in the 3-5 percent bracket for the city and state. It is a fact worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit that the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy is home to the National Poverty Center. The center was founded in 2002 as a nonpartisan research institute.  Faculty there conduct and promote policy-relevant research and shape public discourse on the causes and consequences of poverty. Studying poverty is profitable: The Poverty Center’s Director and his wife, Sheldon and Sandra Danziger, both U of M employees, earned a combined income in 2011 of $337,000—an annual raise or two away from where the 1 Percent congregate.

Esquire magazine this month took a swipe at the NCAA calling the organization “disgusting.” In October 2011 The Atlantic published a feature titled, “The Shame of College Sports.” Author Taylor Branch writes, “The real scandal is the very structure of college sports, wherein student-athletes generate billions of dollars for universities and private companies while earning nothing for themselves.” At the University of Michigan, the football program signed coach Brady Hoke to a contract worth, potentially, $18 million dollars. In 2011, Hoke earned a base salary of $300,000, and that will be raised $100,000 per year for each of the six years of his contract. He’s a 1 Percenter but a bargain in comparison to other U of M coaches with Wall Street salaries.

Former football coach Lloyd Carr earned $1.6 million per year, and men’s basketball coach John Beilein was hired at a salary of $1.3 million dollars per year in 2007, under the auspices of a 6-year contract.

Local non-profits pay their executive directors exceedingly well (whether the companies stay in the black or not). For example, music has been very, very good to Kenneth C. Fischer. Fischer is the head of the University of Michigan Musical Society, a nonprofit organization that raked in $7.4 million dollars in 2009. In 2008, Fischer’s compensation is listed on tax forms filed with the IRS as $273,445. That puts him in the top 3 percent in Tree Town. Arts Midwest, in Minneapolis, put on 293 shows in 2009 and brought in $8.9 million dollars. The group’s executive director was paid $153,000. Fischer, in fact, is one of the most highly paid musical society directors in, yep, the United States.

When Paul Krutko, CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK oversaw economic development for the city of San Jose, California, he was paid $225,000 per year. He came to Ann Arbor, where the cost of living is significantly less, and, poof, was awarded a salary of $250,000 per year plus a $30,000 car allowance. It might be interesting to note that John Hieftje, Dr. Mary Sue Coleman, Dr. Stephen R. Forrest (see list above) and Kenneth C. Fischer all sit on the Board of Ann Arbor SPARK.

What about Tom and Marjorie Monaghan and their $500 million fortune? The M.s moved to Florida, where there is no state income tax. Governor Snyder isn’t on the list because he doesn’t live in Ann Arbor. He lives in Superior Township. William Clay Ford, Jr., who does live in Ann Arbor, is in the 1 Percent, with his annual salary of $4 million, the majority of which he can afford to donate to charity.

While people all over the country occupy cities and protest the outrageous salaries of Wall Street bankers, which are not generally disclosed to the public in tax filings, city governments, local nonprofits, including colleges and universities all over the United States, are doing their part to widen the pay gap through arguably more outlandish compensation packages.

It’s hard to decide which is more worthy of a protest: bank bailouts, or the head of the National Poverty Center and his wife, two university researchers, who publish papers on welfare and poverty, and who earn $337,000 per year—salaries funded with tax dollars squeezed out of the very people whom they study.

Short URL: http://www.a2politico.com/?p=12070

10 Comments for “Who Are Ann Arbor’s Own 1 Percent? Hint: Many Work for Local Nonprofits & In the Public Sector”

  1. @Dave D.

    I do not know the genesis of this, but I do not believe doctors who earn money from seeing patients — eg. clinical revenues — have those dollars reflected on the spreadsheet.

    Otherwise, you’d see surgeon after surgeon among those making upwards of $500,000.

    If they teach students — and this is a teaching hospital — or perform administrative tasks, then those salaries are reflected on the spreadsheet.

    Well, you might disagree, but it’s important to note a distinction. In other words, the money used to pay the chiefs of the hospitals are not taxpayer dollars; they don’t get paid from the same pool of money that comes from the state appropriation or tuition dollars. They get paid from money that is earned by the hospitals.

    The same goes for people who work for the athletic department. Coaches’ salaries, and the salary of the the top ADs are not paid by state dollars or tuition money.

    If we are going to attach value judgments to the salaries, I think it’s important to note where the money actually comes from.

  2. Another Occupy document – The Declaration:

  3. Bhall: “Also might not come from the general fund, eg. taxpayer dollars. The hospital chief’s salary, for instance, comes out of hospital revenues.”

    That’s like saying that personal income taxes in the U.S. don’t go to support the war machine (“defense department”), because other revenue covers that.

    It all goes in to the same pot, and comes out of the same pot. The partitions within the pot are insubstantial.

  4. I just downloaded the spreadsheet. It’s is order of name, so it’s not too tough to find the people listed here. What you can’t do is sort by salary. #Bhall how come the hospital employees are not on the salary spreadsheet? Shouldn’t all the employee salary information be in a single document?

  5. Re. the U-M salaries, there’s a lot of folks who make in the high six figures who aren’t on the list — eg. surgeons and doctors — and there’s a lot of folks on that list who don’t earn what it looks like they earn.

    For instance, you have to take the salary and multiply it by the appointment fraction. So the top person on the list — Alison Hirschel — actually gets paid $756,880 * 0.06 = $45,413.

    It’s great scratch for a .06 appointment, to be sure, but it’s probably the case of U-M paying a big time lawyer to do a class for a few hours a week. Also might not come from the general fund, eg. taxpayer dollars. The hospital chief’s salary, for instance, comes out of hospital revenues.

  6. Statement from Occupy Ann Arbor


    This Friday, January 27, President Obama will speak at the University of Michigan Al Glick Field House. Obama’s visit could not be more timely. As tuition costs rise, University President Mary Sue Coleman
    is becoming a vocal champion of market-driven “solutions” to decreased state funding. Last month, Coleman wrote an open letter to Obama in which she called on university presidents, business leaders, and wealthy individuals to tackle the rising costs of higher education.

    It is becoming increasingly evident that leaders such as Obama and Coleman see education, less as a public good necessary for the health of our democracy, and more as an “investment” in straightening US
    competitiveness in the global marketplace. At a time when the global economy is in crisis, Coleman’s aim to employ educational institutions in service of revitalizing the US economy may seem noble, but her market-centric language betrays her real priorities. When Coleman states that American business “has a vested interest in the talent and research embodied in higher education,” it becomes clear that she and her allies on Wall Street and in the US Chamber of Commerce want an educational system that serves the interests of the 1% over the rest of us.

    Obama’s visit comes as Coleman calls for heightened collaboration between University and business leaders. UM is re-purposing ex-Pfizer properties to house researchers conducting corporate-friendly research and faculty “entrepreneurs” engaged in University-sponsored startup ventures. Coleman calls on wealthy alumni and “philanthropists” to contribute to University endowments, which in turn are invested on Wall Street and used to fund business ventures. These initiatives represent the same failed policies of corporate and political elites to drain public resources and impose austerity, all the while
    benefiting the 1%, whom our leaders have been quick to praise as “job creators.”

    We call on the people of Ann Arbor, as well as on the UM community to stand in solidarity against the corporatization and control of public education by the 1%. We call on everyone to see President Coleman’s promotion of “entrepreneurship,” capital investment, and “philanthropy” in the face of neoliberal austerity as intimately connected to the myriad policies that have unjustly concentrated
    wealth in the hands of a small elite. We call on various groups to organize actions around the University’s crackdown on organized labor and to actively resist the pro-corporate policies of the Coleman administration. We are the 99% and we stand for education that serves everyone, not simply those with the deepest pockets.

  7. Before we get our knickers all in a knot, I have some doubts about the accuracy of these figures. I personally know several of the people on this list and the jobs thay have at the U. I really don’t think those salaries are correct. It might be helpful if those named would confirm or deny the numbers?

    • @Denise the salary figures come from the 2011 UM salary spreadsheet made available by the University. Remember that some salaries as BHall points out are pro-rata, but you can go to this link and download the 2011 file in PDF format: http://hr.umich.edu/hrris/reports/standard.html. The U of M Digital collection has the salary spreadsheets in XLS format, as well. An official at the University of Michigan confirmed the accuracy of the data.

  8. “Outlandish” is indeed the word for these salaries. Along with, perhaps, “obscene”.

    When I contemplate stuff like this, combined with that multi-bazillion-dollar new city hall building, and the multi-bazillion-dollar new library parking structure, I wonder how in the hell Washtenaw County — obviously filthy rich — can tolerate ANY homeless population at all, and call itself compassionate. Well, perhaps no one in WC seriously calls him/herself compassionate. That would add up.

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