Mayor Duggan’s administration grows, with more than half making 6-figure salaries

Duggan admninistration

As Mayor Mike Duggan continued to cut city workers over the past year, he increased the size of his administration from 80 appointees to at least 94, with more than half making in excess of $100,000 a year, according to records obtained under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

The appointees are a mix of city hall insiders, experienced administrators, political veterans and newcomers.

John Hill
John Hill

Of the 54 appointees collecting six-figure salaries, only 23 live in Detroit. CFO John Hill still keeps his primary residence in Washington D.C. but works predominately from Detroit, according to the administration. Jason Watt, who makes $105,000 as the airport director, lives in Flint.

Carol O'Cleireacain
Carol O’Cleireacain

Four appointees receive more than $200,000 a year: Building Authority Director David Manardo ($250,000), Deputy Mayor Carol O’Cleireacain ($225,000), CFO Hill ($225,000) and Building Authority Deputy Director James Wright ($205,000). Police Chief James Craig, who makes $250,000, was appointed by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr but now belongs to the mayor’s administration. DWSD Director Susan McCormick and Chief Assessor Gary Evanko each make about $195,000 a year.

In all, the appointees collect $10.3 million in salaries a year, in addition to health insurance and other benefits.

In the months leading up to state intervention in early 2012, then-Mayor Dave Bing had fewer than 75 appointees, but his administration started out with 118 in 2009. About a dozen earned six-figure salaries.

“Mayor Duggan has added capacity to the administration and has done so within the constraints of the Plan of Adjustment,” mayoral spokesman John Roach, who makes $107,100, said. “The city also is on track to have its first balanced budget in 12 years.”

Asked whether the salaries are paying off, Roach said that’s a question for residents to decide.

“We will let residents judge whether they are seeing improvements and getting good value.”

Unlike some of his predecessors, Mayor Duggan has retained a vast majority of his appointees during the first year and a half of his first term. Mayor Bing, on the other hand, lost nearly half of his appointees during the same time period because of low morale, infighting and little progress.

That’s not to say Mayor Duggan is easy to work for. Appointees describe him as demanding, relentless and even stubborn.

“He can be a real pain in the ass, but he’s getting things done. He demands results. He has a passion and a gift for this stuff,” one appointee told me, speaking on condition of anonymity because he didn’t have authority to speak with the media.

One of the biggest changes under Mayor Duggan was the creation of the Department of Neighborhoods, an initiative to improve services to long-neglected areas by placing appointees in each of the city’s seven districts. The mayor appointed 18 people to the department at a cost of $1.3 million.

Charlie Beckham
Charlie Beckham

The lead appointee and head of the department is longtime city hall insider Charlie Beckham, who was convicted of bribery under Mayor Coleman A. Young in the 1980s. His salary is $140,500 a year, and Duggan said he chose Beckham because of his intimate knowledge of Detroit’s bureaucracy and delivery of services.

Many of the neighborhood appointees are political newcomers who played an integral role in Duggan’s election victory in November 2013.

Gary Brown
Gary Brown

Other noteworthy appointments include COO Gary Brown, who was originally appointed by the former emergency manager ($147,500); Chief of Staff Alexis Wiley, a former Fox 2 News reporter ($147,600); Group Executive for Jobs and Economy Tom Lewand, former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party ($147,525); Deputy Mayor Ike McKinnon, former Detroit police chief ($140,500); Corporation Counsel Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, an attorney for the Detroit branch of the NAACP ($147,525); and Group Executive Portia Roberson, a former lawyer for the Detroit Medical Center ($147,600).

Related: Check out the salaries of Detroit Land Bank employees. 

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • 1Joshua

    The Detroit Collection 2015

  • Hypestyles

    I need a job. City Hall, help me out.

  • falseprophet

    The Duggan way, pay them well enough so they don’t expose the bribes and corruption. Remember when Bernard Kilpatrick named Duggan in his FBI wire taps. Funny thing is Bernard didnt know he was being tapped so you know it was the truth.

  • Cassandra InDetroit

    I didn’t see Alexis Wiley’s name on the list; is she still with the Adm?

  • banmar

    Wow. He’s becoming the Chris Christie of Detroit. Has he yelled at anyone to get off the goddamn beach (or lawn, or whatever) yet?

  • Celeste Turner

    Over half don’t live in the city of Detroit. Are they paid with private donations or tax dollars paid by Detroit citizens?

  • Rasheed

    This is much to do about nothing. The mayor is putting qualified people around him to make sure the city is successful or perhaps some of you would rather have Kwame back?

  • JC

    How does this compare to other big cities?

  • Gina Reichert

    Have the DPD salaries and benefits been restored? Is this even on the docket?

    • javierjuanmanuel

      Whats the total cost comparison.

      By the way tons of cops make 80-90k, and I know cops that make 110-114k in detroit.

      They do not all make 29k for life, they start at that much, they get overtime, they get a health care package almost worth their salary, and then a pension is deffered income, they basically get paid 2.5 years for every year they work.

      I know lots of cops with 3-4-5 bedroom homes in the burbs, and their wife does not even work. They retire in their 40s and get another job, and retire with 2 pensions before most people even retire.

      • disqus_MumSUAqJAG

        UPS drivers make $100K a year if they pick up shifts. UPS driver > Detroit cop. I know a few UPS drivers with new Escalades and Denalis, living in $400K houses.

  • Leah Resh

    what should they be paid?

  • Chester Marx

    That’s why they’re all smiling. Overpaid, over valued and underworked.

    • Observation Deck

      Agreed to the tenth power.

  • javierjuanmanuel

    These wages seem ok, I would like to know if they get pensions, cars, benefits package, 401k matching etc.

    Just the salaries alone do not seem so crazy.

    I think we need less city workers on the pay roll, they need to show up more often, get paid less, less or no pension etc. Something like 30-40% of the city workers were calling in on any average day during the kwame years.

    We need more people working longer hours, honest days, with actual leaders who are not just hourly people who have been around for 30 years so they make them 120k per year leaders when they have no leadership skills, and no management skills or experience.

    Driving a truck around for 20 years for the water department does not in any way mean you can lead or manage. In fact, there is way more evidence to suggest anyone who works for any Det dept for more than about 5 years just becomes a lost soul, mindless drone zombie who collects pay checks, and works an honest 1.5 hours per day, then slacks the rest. They should not be promoted.

  • bebow

    This resident would like to state on the record that nothing has changed. The new bureaucracy is just as unresponsive as the old one. When something changes, I’ll say so.

    • disqus_MumSUAqJAG

      It’s Detroit, it’s SE Michigan. The peak of the auto industry was 1979, death spiral ever since. 4th graders ranked 49th in the nation. Mich-issippi. I suggest you move if you’d like to see a functioning city*. You and your children will be dead before Detroit ever “comes back.”

      *If you must stay in-state: GR, Ann Arbor, Traverse City, Ottawa County.

      • bebow

        I’m not anticipating a “come back.”

  • shavers313

    Talent cost $$$$

    • bebow

      …but talk is cheap.

      • shavers313

        LOL True! Unlike most jobs I’m pretty sure he knows his cabinet is on a 24 hour on call and expect results.

        • bebow

          Let’s see some results. If Duggie’s crew is only serving downtown and Midtown, then they only deserve 5% of whatever their skills are worth.

          • shavers313

            What exactly do you want from this man? Everyone is complaining he is not doing this or that…..but he is doing something. I’m trying to be sensitive and compassionate about peoples opinions, but lets be real about the situation. What do people exactly want from this man that he is not already looking into or working on?

          • bebow

            EQUAL ACCESS to the public services I have paid to receive. Let’s be real about that point.

            He can also come clean up the mess his unpoliced criminals made in my neighborhood. I won’t be humping 5 properties in the hot sun anymore to provide a tightly landscaped area where the dopeman’s Neighborhood Criminal Network can throw its garbage.

            He can also come clean up the mess his half-assed demolition contractors left behind. Yes, I made all of the necessary complaints with no action whatsoever.

            If he has any energy left after that is done, he can come collect the invisible dopeman and his herd of imported prostitutes. The DPD sure isn’t going to handle it.

            See? It’s very simple. I want what I paid to receive.

          • shavers313

            wow….. I see you been through allot. :-/

          • javierjuanmanuel

            I generally like dugan, but the game plan is charge the entire city taxes, represent the entire city, fix up a few blocks, take the edge off people, and tell them they will be next.

            They are only able to achieve what little they are doing by neglecting so much of the city, its sort of a mirage.

            They can just barely sorta fix up 3 neighborhoods when they put every last ounce of resources into it.

            Its not unlike having a huge mansion and taking 3-5 years to just fix up the front porch, door, and steps, telling me how great the restoration is going, all the while the pool has turned into a legit swamp with animals in it, there is a squater in the guest house, a hole in the roof remains, chimney is falling over, taxes are somehow illegally 5 years past due, and on and on and on.

            Then I am told it will all be complete soon. I think, the porch looks nice, but that took you years to fix the porch, thats all your money, how the hell will you even have the money to fix a single of the 9 chimneys in the mansion.

            Nice effort, but I think you need to inherit some money, will a lawsuit, win the lottery etc or this is never going to be complete.

          • disqus_MumSUAqJAG

            Spot on. But you’re wasting your breathe on the DPS educated provincial lifers. They have no options. They’re stuck in the D. That’s all Detroit is at this point, a bunch of dummies stuck there living in denial. The rich guys just hope to keep the con going long enough to retire to Florida is 5-20 years.

          • bebow

            Mum, you’re quite wrong in your opinion of who lives in Detroit.

          • Noah Gekiere

            We just came out of the largest bankruptcy in US history, the reason he’s focusing so much attention there is because that’s where the tax base is, and you need a tax base to expand from there. He’s doing everything he can and he’s doing a phenomenal job at it.

          • bebow

            There are very generous subsidies in place. The colonial renters aren’t paying property taxes and many, if not most, aren’t paying income taxes.

          • Grey Ghost

            But they sure have a superiority complex.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            No, this was the plan going back pre dugan, it was about keeping up appearances sorta, in the most visable area, the stuff on tv, the places reporters go when they are in town for a big game or auto show etc.

            There were 150-200k houses all over the city pre housing collapse.

            What you are suggesting does not match history of what they did.

            I agree he is doing a good to great job, but part of the sales pitch they do not say on tv is, remain where you are, pay your bills, but we will spend no money near you. Remain, and then maybe in 15-20 years the new success may have reached your neck of the woods. Best case scenario of course, no promises. Still pay, do not complain.

            Thanks, love ya, your friend,


          • bebow

            Finally, you understand. Bravo!

          • disqus_MumSUAqJAG

            Detroit is currently the most UNdesirable city in America for young people. Anyone that thinks Detroit has momentum is an idiot that needs to save up $50 for a bus ticket to Chicago or D.C. to see what a fun, educated, momentum-filled city looks like.

          • luc skinster

            If your neighborhood is underserved, contact charlie beckham. He’s in charge of the hoods. I’m sure he’ll make things right with you.

          • bebow
          • javierjuanmanuel

            Is that a joke ? Holy jeez. That is not how it works in detroit at all, there are streets that have not had a single street light for 12-13 years. Entire street, going a half mile long or more.

            Yeah, stuff like garbage in empty lots, graffiti on schools, dumped boat in the street, chop shops in residential homes etc that all exists because no one at city hall knows it exists.

            Where did you grow up ? A college classroom under a desk maybe ?

          • bebow

            City Hall knows, because we make complaints and requests for service. No response.

          • thevillagemalcontent

            Really? Pretty sure either he or his brother were in charge of Coleman’s Neighborhood City Halls and I don’t think that worked out too well for keeping the city together. The Beckham’s were Coleman’s henchmen.

          • How in the hell is that idiot still on the public dime?

        • banmar

          I’m on call 24/7 for my town and I get $500 a month. People who really have the heart for this kind of stuff don’t care about how long it takes to get things done; they’ll stay up all night and go right to work the next day because it’s more than a paycheck.

    • disqus_MumSUAqJAG

      Mr. Barnhill was in the Freep after college crying about being unemployed and in his momma’s house after HARVARD. In other words, nobody extended a full-time offer after seeing him as a summer intern. A black man with a Harvard degree doesn’t end up back in Detroit jobless unless they there are some serious character flaws. “Talent,” huh? Now he’s a public employee with a $106K salary as the “Chief Talent Officer.” Detroit will never change. Just wait till the boomers die off; the region exists off their pensions. When they die, the highly mobile health care employees will flee immediately. In 10 years the region is going to be ghostly.

      • shavers313

        You have no sources or facts to back your statement.

    • notasdumbasulook


    • notasdumbasulook