Friday, April 17, 2009

SEWRPC Rewards Another Retired Executive Director With Nifty Perks

Somehow I missed a Dan Bice item last month documenting the tailored retirement package the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission laid on former Executive Director Philip Evenson who retired in December:

Two days of consulting a week (though my sources say it's more like three or four, but who's counting?) and the right to buy the 2006 Chrysler Town and Country van which the agency had assigned him from the motor pool.

It's a small agency, with a small motor pool. Why Evenson just had to have that particular used van is, well, odd.

I have blogged about the way SEWRPC treats its insiders and senior staffers, behaving more like a private business than a public agency; other employees have been able to buy vehicles, and lotteries are held to give away perfectly fine and working Dell computers.

In that posting, here, Evenson himself says that employees sometimes are allowed to buy old vehicles, but a retiring boss' preference isn't cited as a reason.

The Evenson deal is reminiscent of the long, no-bid consulting contract SEWRPC renews annually with Kurt Bauer, Evenson's predecessor and SEWRPC's first Executive Director dating to the eraly 1960's: A gas-guzzling Ford Crown Victoria, $6,500 monthly, and an office.

In fact, when rumors began circulating last year that Evenson would retire, I said in a March, 2008 posting that Evenson could end up back at SEWRPC after his retirement as a full-time employee

So there's really no such thing as retirement from the senior position at SEWRPC - - now both former executive directors are back on the premises, where they can continue to meet in their second-floor offices in the morning, then go to lunch.

Here is the text of Dan Bice's item:

Retirement gift
It's no longer enough to give high-ranking public employees just a pension and a party when they leave.

Now, it seems, they are also entitled to a lucrative consulting deal.

Phil Evenson stepped down as head of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission late last year. Then last month his successor, Ken Yunker, hired Evenson as a $50-per-hour part-time staffer through June 30.

That's good coin in the middle of a recession.

Yunker, the longtime deputy director under Evenson, said recently that his predecessor will not receive any fringe benefits while putting in two days a week at the regional agency. Among other things, the former boss will be responsible for upgrading the commission's Web site and overseeing new aerial photography of the seven-county region.

"Frankly, I'm stretched a little too thin," Yunker said.

He earns $122,700 annually.

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