THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010 (517) 999-3646

Citizens demand Rothwell reveal any taxpayer-funded pension, health, retirement

LANSING,MI – Citizens group Progress Michigan today called on Doug Rothwell, head of the CEO group pushing to balance the budget on the backs of state workers, to reveal if he gets any taxpayer-funded pension, health care and retirement as a former state worker himself. In 2001-2002, Rothwell was a state employee paid $262,000, more than his then-boss Gov. John Engler. In today’s money, Rothwell’s salary as a state worker would have been $318,000.

“Doug Rothwell has fed off the public trough and now he’s singing a different tune to protect his corporate CEO friends and their big bonuses,” Progress Michigan Executive Director David Holtz said. “If Doug Rothwell truly believes that slashing state workers’ pay and health care will fix the budget, he needs to come clean and return any pension, health care and retirement he gets that’s paid for by taxpayers. Real reform means everyone should sacrifice, including Doug Rothwell, not just ordinary state workers who provide important public services in our communities and who have already sacrificed year after year to balance the budget.”

Rothwell is CEO of a corporate front group called Business Leaders for Michigan that has been pushing the Legislature to fix Michigan’s budget hole by targeting state workers, their families and important public services, without offering any sacrifices themselves. Business Leaders for Michigan’s board chair, David Joos, was scheduled this week to receive a 148 percent bonus as CEO of CMS Energy. Joos’ compensation in 2008 was $5.8 million.

Rothwell wasn’t the only beneficiary in his family of taxpayer dollars. His wife, Sharon, was Engler’s Chief of Staff and in 2001, she was paid a government salary of $135, 150, about $163,000 in today’s money. Their salaries were reported by the Associated Press on Dec. 20, 2001. That year, Doug Rothwell received a $63,000 bonus, bumping his 2001-2002 pay to $262,029, far more than Engler’s $177,000.

Rothwell’s state salary wasn’t the only controversy surrounding his pay. In 1999, after getting a raise that pushed his state government pay to $190,000, Rothwell complained that it wasn’t enough, according to Gongwer news service Aug. 6, 1999. Gongwer reported that Rothwell dismissed the $80,000 raise as the government’s way of recognizing that his job required “a little more skill and talent than somebody managing a burger-flipping joint down the street.”

“Doug Rothwell sure has changed his definition of ‘sacrifice’ since he padded his six-figure paycheck with taxpayer dollars,” Holtz said. “Doug Rothwell’s hypocrisy is an insult to Michigan families struggling with lost jobs and fewer services. Michigan needs real reforms, not more self-serving double talk from people like Doug Rothwell.”

Holtz also pointed that that Senate Leader Mike Bishop, who supports breaking collective bargaining agreements with state workers to reduce their scheduled pay, refuses to eliminate his own lifetime health benefits as a lawmaker.

“David Joos and his corporate CEO friends at Business Leaders for Michigan ask others to sacrifice while they protect their fat bonuses and huge profits by sticking ordinary families with the bill and putting our families’ futures at risk,” Holtz said. “Based on David Joos’ dismal performance at Consumers, he should slash his pay and perks by at least 50 percent. The other overpaid CEOs should do the same before asking struggling families to sacrifice even more than they have and calling for more slashing of schools, services and the salaries of government workers.”


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