Andy Dillon is getting the $174,204 annual salary rate he earned as state treasurer. (Dale G. Young / The Detroit News)
Lansing— Former state Treasurer Andy Dillon continues to collect his full paycheck more than two months after resigning amid personal controversies by maintaining a transitional advisory role in the Treasury Department.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration acknowledged for the first time this week Dillon remains employed as a special adviser to Treasurer Kevin Clinton for the same $174,204 annual salary rate he earned as head of the agency.
Dillon continues to work on local government financial issues involving Detroit and shared municipal services and assists Clinton with his transition from the state insurance department, Treasury spokesman Terry Stanton said.
After Snyder appointed Clinton the new treasurer in mid-October, Clinton publicly thanked Dillon for “sticking around” before his scheduled Oct. 31 departure, but did not say Dillon would remain employed at the same salary.
Dillon is expected to remain in the advisory role for another four to six weeks, Stanton said.
But the revelation of Dillon’s continued state employment after voluntarily quitting raised eyebrows among some in Lansing’s political circles this week when it came to light.
Dillon’s undisclosed extended stay on the state payroll “reeks of the same kind of insider secretive deals that Snyder promised would not be part of his administration,” said Joe DiSano, a Democratic political consultant.
“You’ve got an administration that has been cloaked in secrecy since Day One, and they promised to run government like a business — and they’ve succeeded,” DiSano said. “A transparent administration would say ‘Yes, he’s going to stay on in a paid capacity for several months.’ ”
It’s not the first time a top official in the Snyder administration has remained on the payroll months after a resignation.
In August 2012, Community Health Department Director Olga Dazzo resigned from her $145,000-a-year job, saying she wanted to return to the private sector. But records show she remained on the state’s payroll through the end of October that year as a special adviser to agency Director Jim Haveman, earning a slightly higher salary of $146,450.
Dazzo remained on the payroll “to be available to answer questions and assist with the transition as the new director started,” agency spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said Wednesday. Haveman ran the department from 1996 to 2003 under former Gov. John Engler.
“She was just to be available at the time,” Minicuci said Wednesday. “She was not physically here.”
Dillon, who was Snyder’s point man on Detroit’s financial crisis, announced Oct. 11 he was resigning because of “media attention and scrutiny” of his acrimonious divorce from Carol Owens-Dillon, who had gone public with allegations of marital infidelity and abuse.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office cleared Dillon of any assault charges, citing a lack of evidence about his estranged ex-wife’s claims.
Dillon, a former speaker of the Michigan House, also had other personal troubles surface, including an acknowledged bout with alcoholism and persistent problems rectifying campaign finance reports from his failed 2010 bid for governor.
In accepting Dillon’s resignation, Snyder said in an Oct. 11 statement he respects Dillon’s “decision to seek new opportunities” and thanked him for being “available to assist the new treasurer with the transition.”
Dillon’s last day as treasurer was Oct. 31, and he started serving as Clinton’s senior adviser the next day, Stanton said.
When reached by phone Wednesday by The Detroit News, Dillon declined to answer questions about what he is doing for the Treasury Department.
He later released a statement, saying: “When I resigned, I said I would stay to transition the new treasurer, especially as it related to local government issues. I also agreed to keep my scheduled commitments through the end of the year.”
When asked why Dillon is earning the same amount as adviser, Stanton replied: “This was and is important work, and as noted previously, the appointment is temporary.”
Inside Michigan Politics assistant editor Bill Ballenger, a former GOP state senator, called it “unusual” for an at-will political appointee to continue receiving a salary months after resigning. But he said it’s unclear if this happened in the past because treasurers have gone quietly with little attention to their arrangements.
“For the one who’s been controversial to seek or be given a salary months after he’s left, to me, seems a little like playing with fire,” said Ballenger. “If it was anybody but Dillon, it probably wouldn’t be so politically titillating.”
Ballenger sees this controversy as evidence Dillon continues to be “hounded” by political opponents — especially unions and fellow Democrats — for controversial steps such as joining a GOP governor’s administration and helping install a Detroit emergency manager.
Michigan Information and Research Service, a Lansing publication, first reported Tuesday about Dillon remaining on the state payroll.
“ ... You don’t ask a guy in that position to stay on for four months and ask him not to be paid,” GOP political consultant John Truscott said Wednesday.