Ex-Ficano appointee's $96K a year pension has no age requirement - New York News

Ex-Ficano appointee's $96K a year pension has no age requirement

Posted: Updated:
Matt Schenk plans to start collecting a $96,000 a year pension. Matt Schenk plans to start collecting a $96,000 a year pension.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Matt Schenk, who is Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano's former chief of staff, is preparing for a big pension payday.

Right now Schenk earns nearly $200,000 working for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. However, when he worked for the county, he took an early retirement incentive package offered to appointees that will pay him $96,000 a year for the rest of his life, which he plans to start collecting in a few month at the young age of 41.

Wayne County Commissioner Chair Gary Woronchak said it should make taxpayers sick to their stomachs.

"There's absolutely no way that anyone could justify with no age requirement drawing that kind of a pension. More money than average workers are going to make ever in a year," he said.

Schenk reportedly said he needed to enroll now or lose out on the benefits.

Woronchak, who serves on the retirement board, said he must enroll and buy into the plan now, but Schenk could defer the pension for as long as he wants.

"It wouldn't make economic sense to him, but he could. No one is forcing him to start drawing that pension now," he said.

These sort of retirement packages with no age requirements have been since outlawed, but Commissioner Tim Kileen said it does not prevent the cash-strapped county from having to pay for the plans that already exist.

"It's taking more money away from us to put into the retirement plan that otherwise could go into services like the prosecutor," he said.

Now the county claims through the early retirement incentives that Ficano was able to shave the number of appointees by 30 percent ultimately saving money, but critics say in the long run it will cost the county big time.

"I think that's baloney that it's going to save the county money. Of course it saves the county money to have fewer people, but you can just remove those people because they're at-will. These incentives were a sweetheart deal, there's no question in my mind about it," Woronchak said.

"Looking back on it, if there were things that we could do differently, that having an age requirement would've been better," said Deputy Wayne County Executive Jeffrey Collins.

Can anything be done to adjust the lucrative retirement plans and alleviate some of the cost?

"That is something I'm looking at, what can we do to stop the defined benefit portion of the retirement and get everybody into what's called a defined contribution?" Kileen said. "That is much less onerous on the county."

As it stands right now, Wayne County only has half the money it needs to pay for pension plans over the next 30 years.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Subway bedbug infestations on the rise

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:48:09 GMT
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
    It appears the subway bedbug problem we've been reporting is getting worse. Commuters already have to contend with sweltering platforms, scurrying rats and packed train cars, and now there's another transit woe: fear of bedbugs.
  • Hope's Land of Candy

    Hope's Land of Candy

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:26 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:26:26 GMT
    Step through the doors of Hope's Land of Candy in Island Park, Long Island and you''ll be taking a trip back in time. There's no WIFI but they do have a player piano, Victrola, and then there the candy, lot and lots of it.
    Step through the doors of Hope's Land of Candy in Island Park, Long Island and you''ll be taking a trip back in time. There's no WIFI but they do have a player piano, Victrola, and then there the candy, lot and lots of it.
  • West Indian Day Parade steps off amid shootings

    West Indian Day Parade steps off amid shootings

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:05 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:05:47 GMT
    The West Indian Day Parade is supposed to be a time of fun and excitement in celebration of Caribbean culture. However, several shootings near the parade has turned it into a day of tragedy for some.
    The West Indian Day Parade is supposed to be a time of fun and excitement in celebration of Caribbean culture. However, several shootings near the parade has turned it into a day of tragedy for some.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Teens shot and killed on Detroit's west side identified

    Teens shot and killed on Detroit's west side identified

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:21 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:21:35 GMT
    Two families are grieving after the bodies of two teenagers -- a boy and a girl -- were found in the street Sunday morning on Detroit's west side. Both were shot and killed.
    Two families are grieving after the bodies of two teenagers -- a boy and a girl -- were found in the street Sunday morning on Detroit's west side. Both were shot and killed.
  • Two hospitalized after crashing stolen Corvette in police chase

    Two hospitalized after crashing stolen Corvette in police chase

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:50:55 GMT
    Two men are sent to the hospital after crashing their corvette in Hamtramck. In addition to their injuries, they may be facing serious charges including grand theft auto.
    Two men are sent to the hospital after crashing their corvette in Hamtramck. In addition to their injuries, they may be facing serious charges including grand theft auto.
  • Severe thunderstorms move into metro Detroit

    Severe thunderstorms move into metro Detroit

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:38 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:38:09 GMT
    The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for St. Clair and Macomb counties until 7:21 p.m.
    The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for St. Clair and Macomb counties until 7:21 p.m.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices