Council members angered by Herenton, McGee vacation pay - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council members angered by Herenton, McGee vacation pay

Willie Herenton Willie Herenton
Keith McGee Keith McGee

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Council members expressed anger Tuesday upon learning about the way former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton and former city CAO Keith McGee cashed in on unused vacation time.

Monday, public documents released by the city revealed $207,000 in taxpayer funds went to the two men, simply for apparently not taking any vacations for eight years.  City Council members had two big issues with the money given to the men.

First, the benefits were exclusive.  The Mayor and CAO are the only two of the city's 6,000 employees entitled to roll their vacation time over year after year.  But, they're the only two employees who can also get cash in exchange for forfeiting paid time off.

"No other employee could cash them out," city human resources director Lorene Essex said.

"The fact remains that the mayor on the 7th floor has a benefit that the person who is going to pick my trash up today doesn't have," City Council chairman Harold Collins said.

Another issue council members had: the benefits were secretive.

"If you wanted to hide it from scrutiny you could not have done a better job," Council member Jim Strickland said.

Strickland discovered the vacation benefits paid out to Herenton and McGee were nowhere in the city's budget.

"By doing that, the Council cannot see what's happening. The council has no knowledge of that expenditure," Strickland said.

While City Council members can't get the money back, they hope the new light on the issue will keep the next mayor from cashing in.

According to city policy, vacation time is to be paid out only at retirement.  But there is a vague clause that says alternate arrangements can be made for the Mayor and City Administrator, since no one can fill in for them while they're gone.

  • Click here to read and download documents related to Willie Herenton's payment for unused vacation time.
  • Click here to read and download documents related to Keith McGee's payment for unused vacation time.

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