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The highest taxpayer-funded paychecks in Greater Lansing

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Hundreds of government employees working for the cities of Lansing and East Lansing and Ingham County government were paid more than $100 million in total last year. Many of them collected six-figure paychecks, leaning heavily on taxpayer dollars to bring home the bread for their own families.

City Pulse recently collected payroll records for the largest earners in the three largest municipalities in Greater Lansing over 2019. About 70% of those highest paid employees are men, and they included elected leaders, top government administrators, doctors, judges, lawyers and emergency personnel.

In Lansing, the top ten biggest earners accounted for about 2% of the city’s total $60 million payroll. The ten most lucrative jobs with the city of East Lansing account for about 5.5% of the city’s $21.8 million payroll. And in Ingham County, the 10 highest paid government employees comprise 2.4% of the $66.3 million in total pay.

Here’s a quick look at where some of the biggest paychecks were sent out during 2019:

 

East Lansing

1. City Manager George Lahanas, $172,902

2. Fire Chief Randy Talifarro, $131,537

3. Finance Director Jill Feldpausch, $127,089

4. Police Chief Larry Sparkes, $116,805

5. Public Works Director, Scott House $115,439

6. Police Lieutenant James Campbell, $110,287

7. Fire Captain Cameron Howie, $110,189

8. Police Lieutenant Tresha Neff, $104,836

9. Deputy Fire Chief Dawn Carson, $103,621

10. Police Lieutenant Marc Smith, $100,332

Total: $1,193,039

Gross Payroll: $21,792,303

Percent of Gross Payroll: 5.47%

 

Lansing

1. City Attorney Jim Smiertka $161,769

2. Mayor Andy Schor $134,058

3. Chief Strategy Officer Shelbi Frayer, $134,000

4. HR and Community Services Director Joan Jackson Johnson, $126,789

5. Fire Chief Michael Mackey, $124,471

6. Public Services Deputy Director Christoper Mumby,  $115,000

7. Public Services Director Andy Kilpatrick, $113,025

8. Parks Director Brett Kaschinske, $112,929

9. Police Chief Daryl Green, $111,000

10. Assessor Sharon Frischman, $109,000

Total: $1,242,041

Gross Payroll: $60,340,228

Percent of Gross Payroll: 2.06%

 

Ingham County

1. Community Health Centers Interim Medical Director Priti Pathak, $190,575

2. Community Health Centers Primary Care Physician Melvin Cherry, $186,987

3. Community Health Centers Family Medicine Physician Luis Valle, $183,033

4. County Controller Tim Dolehanty, $153,372

5. Community Health Centers Dental Director Stephen Pittel, $149,956

6. Probate Court Judge Richard Garcia, $149,490

7. Probate Court Judge Shauna Dunnings, $149,220

8. County Prosecutor Carol Siemon, $136,064

9. County Health Department Officer Linda Vail, $135,999

10. County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth, $127,434

Total: $1,562,130

Gross Payroll: $66,246,403

Percent of Gross Payroll: 2.4%

 

Overall Top Ten

1. Community Health Centers Interim Medical Director Priti Pathak, $190,575

2. Community Health Centers Primary Care Physician Melvin Cherry, $186,987

3. Community Health Centers Family Medicine Physician Luis Valle, $183,033

4. East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas, $172,902

5. Lansing City Attorney Jim Smiertka, $161,769

6. Ingham County Controller Tim Dolehanty, $153,372

7. Community Health Centers Dental Director Stephen Pittel, $149,956

8. Probate Court Judge Richard Garcia, $149,490

9. Probate Court Judge Shauna Dunnings, $149,220

10. Ingham County Prosecutor, Carol Siemon $136,064

Source: Ingham County Human Resources Director Sue Graham. Freedom of Information Act requests filed with Lansing and East Lansing

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