October 16, 2012
Nobody is better at working the system to their benefit than those inside the system. This is certainly true for Memphis and the MLGW.
Recently I attended a MLGW pension board meeting and as they read the agenda and approved pension requests one particular name rang a bell in my memory, Joseph Lee III.
Joe Lee III. This brought back a lot of memories that cost the taxpayers a ton of money.
- Mayor Herenton appointed Joe Lee as senior financial auditor (1989-1991), City Treasurer (1996-2001), President and CEO of MLGW (2004-2007) and 2008 Deputy director of park services.
- As President of the MLGW he earned $215,000.
- The MLGW board picked up Lee’s $425,000 dollar legal tab.
- Now the MLGW pension board approved Lee’s pension which amounts to $69,813.60 per year.
Also I found out that Roland McElrath, the new Controller at the MLGW earning a salary of $133,000, will at the same time receive a pension from the City of Memphis of $61,605.12. This is due to the January 2001 pension resolution that allowed elected and appointed employees at the City of Memphis to retire after 12 years regardless of age and start receiving their pensions immediately.
This disastrous City of Memphis pension resolution is now very expensive and will cost millions of dollars in the future. Reform is needed now as follows.
- Change the January 2001 pension resolution to stop this abuse of allowing grandfathered appointed employees to retire after 12 years of service and start receiving their pensions immediately.
- Change the City of Memphis line of duty disability to stop the abuse that is costing the City of Memphis $13 million dollars per year.
- Change the City of Memphis and MLGW rules to not allow an employee to receive a taxpayer funded salary and also receive a public pension at the same time.
We must get these abuses under control or we face a bleak financial future with sales or property tax increases as promised by the City Council and the County Commission.