(WXYZ) DETROIT - When Turkia Mullin left Wayne County in September, she walked out the door with more than just that $200,000 severance. Taxpayers lavished her with another six-figure sum.
Months before Turkia Mullin’s $200,000 severance was exposed by 7 Action News, Robert Ficano was already declaring an end to sweetheart deals in the county.
"When our future hangs in the balance, there can be no sacred cows," Ficano said in February.
But at the same time he said those words, Mullin was cashing in on a little-known county perk for appointees. Under that benefit, the county put up $5 for every $1 an appointee put towards his or her 401k.
Mullin worked for the county for only 8 years, but she was still able to bank $158,503 in county contributions alone. How much Mullin put towards her investment isn’t being released by county officials, who cited privacy concerns.
Rick Bloom is a financial adviser who’s seen most employers cut back, or completely eliminate matching programs for 401ks. He called the county’s payout "outrageous" in a time where layoffs and cutbacks have become the norm.
Ficano agreed that the benefit is too lavish, but didn’t suspend it until it became a news story in October. Now, the county match has been brought down back down to earth: a dollar matched for every one dollar an employee puts in.
Before the benefit was reigned-in, the 5- to-1 match was capped at 2.5% of an appointees salary.
We've also learned that many union employees receive a 4-to-1 match for their 401ks. Ficano said it was promised to them in their last contract, and there's no sign they'll be giving it up.
If you have a tip for the Action News Investigative Team, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (248) 827-9466.
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