Why is this woman laughing?
Originally posted July 19, 2013;
updated August 15, 2013
The Lansing State Journal,
City Pulse all reported today that former Lansing police chief
Teresa Szymanski has landed a job as the Lansing School
District's chief operations officer. She retired from the
Lansing police force on April 19, 2013 at age 50, with 26
years of service.
Her salary on her new job was not
included in those July 19 reports, but the school district
has told me in
response to a FOIA request that it is $120,000. Her annual pension from
Lansing's Police and Fire Retirement System is about
$90,000. That is what her predecessor
Mark Alley got when he
retired in March 2010.
We don't know
her actual pension amount because a
state law was passed in December forbidding employers of
public employees from releasing their pension details.
and Fire pensions are calculated by multiplying final
average compensation (FAC) times 25 years times 3.2%.
and firefighters can retire at any age after 25 years of
service, and many retire before age 50. We don't often hear
what these young retirees do after they leave, but we do
know about a few of them:
Bruce Ferguson retired in 2010 at age 50 with a
$66,507 pension. In January 2013, he became chief of police
for the City of DeWitt at a salary of $65,000. (Lansing State
Mark Alley, Lansing's former chief of police, retired in March
of 2010 to take a job as senior director of risk management for
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. in Lansing. Since Emergent is not a
public agency, they are not subject to the Freedom of
Information Act and not likely to volunteer his new salary. We
can only imagine. But we do know that his
pension from the City is $90,356. Alley retired at
age 48. He had only 24 years and one month of service, so he
purchased another 11 months at a cost of $107,812.
Lansing police captain Ray Hall
retired in February 2012 to take a job with University of
Michigan-Flint as chief of police. His new salary is $103,000,
to my FOIA request. His City of Lansing
is $73,178. Hall was 49 years old when he retired. He was 16 months shy of the 25
years needed to qualify for a pension with
the Lansing Police and Fire Retirement System, so he purchased
David Ford and
Walter Holden retired from the Fire Department in June 2010 and
First Due Fire
Supply in Mason - established April 2007. Ford's pension is
Employees also include Lansing firefighter Chris Wheeler and
duty disability retiree Dan Hamel (retired 7/20/2010, pension
In the upcoming city
elections, we should ask candidates to consider changing the
retirement system so that police and firefighters are paid
to work for Lansing rather than for someone else.