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Snyder keeps Dillon on state payroll

Andy Dillon

Andy Dillon

Former treasurer remains at full salary while city retirees stripped

By T. Kelly with Z. Jeffries
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Andy Dillon, Michigan’s former treasury secretary, remains on the state payroll with full salary of $174,204 and benefits over two months after he resigned his position in disgrace, according to a Treasury official.

Dillon, who was Gov. Rick Snyder’s key player in taking Detroit into first the consent agreement, then emergency management and ultimately bankruptcy, said in October that media coverage of his contested divorce had become too big a distraction for him to remain Treasury Department director.

Reports of Dillon’s drug and alcohol abuse and his son’s incarceration for drugs were also circulating at the time of his resignation, and confirmed in court documents. Additionally, there were reports Dillon assaulted his wife after she threatened to reveal to media his racist text messages.

“Completely outrageous,” is how Lansing-based political consultant Joe Disano, of Main Street Strategies, described the Snyder-Dillon arrangement.

“It’s another example of the Snyder administration protecting friends at the expense of taxpayers,” Disano said. “In Detroit, retirees’ pensions are being stolen at no fault of their own, yet Andy Dillon resigned in disgrace and receives full pay. It is an outrageous abuse of power.”

Terry Stanton, spokesperson for the Department of Treasury, said in emails, “Mr. Dillon is temporarily serving as senior advisor to Treasurer Kevin Clinton, to assist with transition and local government fiscal health issues. The role is expected to conclude in the next 4-6 weeks.”

Stanton said, “Dillon’s pay and benefits have remained the same (insurance and 401k, not a pension). Again, this is a temporary appointment.”

Stanton said Dillon was being paid with treasury funds for “an unclassified position, paid for out of existing funds.”

Dillon took the stand Nov. 5, days after his resignation, to testify in the Detroit bankruptcy case without disclosing that he was still on the state payroll. He said then that filing for Chapter 9 was “a last resort” effort by the state and retiree health benefits were the overwhelming burden for the city. His testimony possibly contradicted previous emails where he stated the bankruptcy  looked “premeditated.” Since then, Orr has announced retirees will receive $120 a month for health care.

Dillon was instrumental in helping the Snyder team bringing Orr and his law firm, Jones Day, to Detroit to manage the city and its bankruptcy. Before the Chapter 9 filing, however, Dillon agreed the state owed the city $800 million in uncollected tax revenue.

State Sen. Bert Johnson said Jan. 8 it appears certain that with each pay check, Dillon is adding to his state pension.

“It’s despicable considering the number of people who lose their jobs and cannot receive long-term unemployment, the very thing we’re fighting for in Congress right now,” Johnson told the Michigan Citizen.

Disano said the “secretive deal” was in sharp contrast to the transparency and ethics Snyder promised before his election.

He listed some of what he called Snyder’s ethical lapses: Snyder paid a non-state employee, Richard Baird, out of a secret slush fund until public pressure forced Baird into state employment; the “skunk works” scandal where a small group of Snyder supporters meeting in private attempted “to change education funding to an off-budget voucher plan;” and pushing right-to-work through the lame duck session.

“And what else don’t we know about the Snyder administration?” Disano said.

Dillon recently has approved Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s Barclays bank deal, which was rejected by the entire City Council in December. Under the Barclays deal, the banks currently owed money would go to the head of the line as secured creditors, getting paid 75 percent of what they claim. Conversely, retirees are facing cuts to 20 cents on the dollar.

Dillon ran unsuccessfully for the 2010 Democratic nomination for governor.

Gov. Rick Snyder, in announcing Dillon’s resignation on Oct. 11, said Dillon would assist the incoming treasurer with transition issues, but did not mention Dillon would continue to receive a full-time salary.

 

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