A Job May Not be a Life but … Maybe Consulting at $125/hr Is!

After tendering her resignation as township manager back on July 17, in a Community Matters post, “… I asked Mimi Gleason why she was resigning – was it another job? No, she is not leaving Tredyffrin for another job. In fact, her explanation for the resignation was actually quite simple … ‘A job is not a life’. She went on to explain that she is uncertain about what she wants to do, but knows that she wants to do something different and to work less. Her plans after September 17 include taking a few months off from work, visiting friends around the country during the fall and her annual trip to Hawaii in January.”

Curious if there was any way that she would extend her employment past the September 17 deadline, I asked her that question. Her response, was an emphatic “no”, her mind was made up.  Well, as we learned at the September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting, her mind was not made up.  With a unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors approved a consulting contract for Gleason, effective immediately.  There was no disclosure from the supervisors as to the specifics of the contract, i.e. salary, hours, etc. though BOS chair Michelle Kichline did say that Gleason would be helping the township until sometime after a new township manager was appointed and that the former township manager would not have direct contact with the public.  On a personal note, as probably one of Gleason’s final contacts with a private citizen, both in email and via her phone call to me of September 14, I completely support that aspect of the contract!

By the September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting, 2 months had passed since Gleason’s letter of resignation, but no replacement township manager had been appointed. If you recall with Tom Scott’s departure as assistant township manager, that position was eliminated.  In the interim, township Finance Director Tim Klarich was appointed at the September 17 BOS meeting to serve as acting township manager until a replacement township manager was appointed.

Without details of Gleason’s contract by the Board of Supervisors, several residents asked me about the contract, her consulting fee, the timeline, etc.  On September 23, I sent the township a ‘right-to-know request’, asking for the contract and any related correspondence.  After a legal review of my request, I received Gleason’s proposal dated August 28 and the signed consulting contract dated September 17 this past Friday.  (If you click on the contract, do not be put-off by the 29 pages, the attorney Robert McClintock, Lamb McErlane, included several copies of the contract in the pdf.  I am unclear as to why multiple unsigned copies; perhaps they contain small changes, but regardless, go to the end of the document to find the signed and dated version.)

For those experienced in reading contracts, I encourage additional commentary. Below, I offer highlights of Gleason’s proposal and contract:

  • Assist staff in development of 2013 budget & 5-year plan
  • Analyze budget alternatives
  • Available to meet with supervisors, finance committee
  • Assist with BOS meeting preparation
  • Assist with collective bargaining agreements if needed
  • Hourly rate $125, billed monthly to township
  • Work 10-15 hours per week, with notice may work more
  • Will assist new township manager with transition

Working as an independent contractor, Gleason’s consulting contract commenced September 23, no end date assigned. According to the terms of the contract, the township has the right to terminate the agreement with 10 days written notice. Going forward, the agreement may be amended with mutual agreement of Gleason and the township.

Going back to Gleason’s comment to me of July 17 that, “a job is not a life”.  Although a job may not be a life, apparently consulting may be the ticket to life.  A couple of people, who attended her retirement party last month, reported that  Gleason’s consulting plans go beyond helping Tredyffrin Township.  According to these sources, Gleason intends to take her land development expertise and offer those skills to other municipalities as a consultant.

I always thought that Gleason’s continued involvement and intense personal interest in the outcome of the recent C-1 zoning change to permit assisted living at Daylesford, past her notice to resign somewhat strange.  It is interesting to note that her last day of township employment had Gleason at the September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting and witness to the 7-1 supervisors vote to approve the C-1 zoning change.  Now, I get the connection.  Though many township residents opposed the C-1 zoning change, Gleason can now point to this success when negotiating her consulting services with other townships.  I guess the same applies for the Trout Creek Stormwater Overlay district ordinance change and her involvement in that zoning change.

Having served 10 years in Tredyffrin Township government, Gleason is fully vested and receives a pension.  In addition to the pension, it is my understanding that she will receive healthcare benefits for life. Pension, healthcare coverage and consulting jobs, looks like Gleason had bigger plans than our July 18 conversation following her resignation would have suggested.  According to Gleason, ‘a job may not be a life’ but apparently consulting is.

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20 Comments

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  1. $125 an hour is ridiculous. That would annualize to a salary of $260,000. No wonder she resigned. I would imagine she can work about 15 hours a week and match her salary. Health care for life? Someone please confirm that. She is vested but she is certainly not an age where she would have earned retirement perks. So if someone she supervised for 10 years has a question about something, she will bill the township $125 for answering it.

    For the record — this is not permitted without a time period in other government environments. The late Phil Hooper was an architect and after leaving the board we deputized him for two years until he was eligible to bill us for his time. Even then, he was very reluctant to do so, as felt that his contribution was giving back to the economy. So I guess that’s the secret — once paid, always demanding.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    TR, Yes, $260K if annualized and for what it’s worth, that is probably around twice what her yearly salary was as township manager. I was told that it her healthcare benefit package was part of the arrangement when hired. That once vested, you would continue to receive it should you leave the township. Again, it has not been verified – so do I need another right-to-know request or would a simple email to a supervisor get the answer? What do you think? As for time period of the contract?? I guess the contract runs until such time a new township manager is hired and then she sticks around to ease the transition. How long does that take — no idea. What do you think, $125/hr. to answer questions … fiscally responsible? In most situations when someone resigns, the company wants the employee out of the work place as soon as possible — in this case, it’s been just about 3 months since Ms. Gleason declared her resignation.

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  2. Pattye,
    I suggest you file a RTK request for the township manager’s last employment contract and not rely on a telephone call. There is so much more information in a written contract and the written word is subject to much less misinterpretation.
    .
    Please don’t feel you are imposing on any government agency with a RTK request and don’t fall for anyone trying to say you are causing a waste of taxpayer money to fulfill a RTK request. These are the public’s records and any agency should be happy to be labeled as transparent by fulfilling a request fully and in a timely manner.
    .
    I don’t view a rate of $125 per hour as outrageous as long as the supervisors move quickly to find a full time manager. I see the job has been posted and resumes were to be submitted by August 20th. Someone might want to inquire as to where the supervisors are in the hiring process.

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  3. They serve our country and, we hope, strive to represent our interests, but you may wonder: how much does a senator make? There is a base pay rate for senators, but there are also other allowances and benefits, such as retirement and insurance, that should be considered when calculating the overall compensation a senator receives.

    General Earnings

    Senators who do not hold a leadership position within the Senate are sometimes referred to as “rank and file” senators. These senators all have the same base pay, and it’s a much more than the six dollars a session the first Senators earned back in 1789.

    How much does a senator make these days? As of 2010, yearly salaries for United States Senators were as follows:

    • Basic Senators (no leadership position) – $174,000

    • Majority and Minority Leaders – $193,400

    • President Pro Tempore – $223,500

    • Vice President (President of the Senate) – $230,700

    Compare these US Senator salaries to Mimi’s annualized rate of $260,000

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  4. Mimi Gleason has fed at the government trough for what I can tell is most of her career. She was part of the county working in what ultimately was called the Department of Community Development. If ever there was a municipal farce, that department was it. Grant applications were pre-approved, and those of us reading them were told what to grade it. The hours were 8:30 – 4:30 — and if you got there at 8:20, you were unlocking the door, and if you left at 4:35, you were locking it. That old phrase “close enough for government work” is the watchword of those kinds of people….and it was on Mimi’s watch that our municipal non-police workers organized and were rewarded with a contract, which was voted on at the same Supervisor’s meeting as Mimi’s contract I believe….all without any details or documentation to the public.

    Michele Kichline is clearly in over her head. She is sharp and she is credible, but this kind of payday for a relatively young, 10 year employee is just a joke. Maybe as a former practicing lawyer, Michele thinks everyone should make billabe rates for their services. $125 for Mimi Gleason to remember where the bodies were buried is a JOKE….

    [Reply]

    Tredyffrin Resident Reply:

    Couldn’t have said it any better.

    [Reply]

  5. Many thanks, Pattye, for your work to obtain and publish the contract. It’s always good for us to see some of the inner workings of our government.

    To me, this seems like an OK agreement. It’s clearly a Township standard consulting contract, and is packed with protections for the Township in areas like performance, quality, indemnity, insurance, work product ownership. As a general matter, as a taxpayer that gives me some comfort.

    As to the specifics of Mimi’s case, the Township is not obligated to hire her for any hours at all and the 10 day termination notice is effectively 0-1 days, since they can tell her to stop work on receipt of the notice. Of course, multiplying the $125 per hour by the number of work hours in a year gives an outrageous number, but for 10-15 hours a week for a few weeks there’s not a lot of money involved. If the BOS doesn’t think it is getting value, it doesn’t have to hire her.

    I would be interested to see the terms of her original employment agreement to see exactly what a township manager is entitled to after 10 years of service. My guess is that whatever that is, the Township might not want to match it for the next hire.

    [Reply]

    Township Reader Reply:

    Ray
    On what do you base the assumption that they won’t use her much? She’s hired to help with the next budget…and whatever. This is the kind of thing ex-senators do when they go work for lobbyists.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    From Exhibit A: “I will be available to work 10-15 hours per week ……. for most weeks, 10-15 hours will be the maximum. My availability could continue for a short period after the new Township Manager starts ….”

    Perhaps there will be news about the hiring process at tonight’s BOS meeting.

    OT: Also tonight, we may get a look at the proposed TEEA contract either before or after the School Board votes – assuming that the TEEA ratified it. Any news on that?

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    I don’t know what you’re reading. I based my thoughts on the last 9 pages of the link Pattye provided, particularly on sections 4, 5 and 6, which have language targeted at similar objectives to those I had for consulting contracts for which I was responsible.

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  6. Big scoop: Competent woman successfully manages despite fiscal budget cuts past muscle, to the bone! No, wait, that happens everyday.

    Bigger scoop: Competent woman realizes that this is no way to live; early morning & late night meetings, always prepared…(gee, when did she do that?) every decision questioned by Jane Q. Public, numbers checked just to find a flaw, and resigns. Sorry, that’s an old story, too.

    Biggest Scoop: After realizing what it will take to replace competent woman, elected supervisors ask Competent woman to agree to stay on as consultant. Competent woman ask for reasonable rates, limits on time, and NO PUBLIC CONTACT. Hhmmm, seems that competent woman is reasonable and smart, too.

    HEADLINE: PUBLIC DRIVES COMPETENT WOMAN FROM JOB THEN CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY REPLACING HER WOULD TAKE TEN MEN! Wait, this happens every day…am I onto something?

    [Reply]

    Dondo Reply:

    BIGGEST HEADLINE: A job is not a life, but you still need to make a living after you leave said job.

    BUT WAIT DOES THAT MAKE HER A HYPOCRITE?!

    [Reply]

    Dondo Reply:

    ANSWER: No.

    [Reply]

    Township Reader Reply:

    On what do you base your conclusion of competence? We have unionized municipal employees on her watch. We turned over the police force on her watch. We are so desparate for development that we’re approving anything. Ok — competent. I get it. Close enough for government work.

    [Reply]

    Guy Reply:

    No, you don’t get it. The competence of the former manager is not based on whether you like the policies passed under her tenure. They were not enacted in a vacuum, nor are they necessarily representative of Ms. Gleason’s beliefs.

    I’ve worked with Mimi on several issues ranging from parks, property lines, & our little league. The outcome was not always what I wanted, but Mimi was open-minded, looked at all options, brought in other parties when needed, and logic behind each ultimate resolution was clear. “Close enough for government work” was never my experience. After 18 months of dealing with a former assistant manager, Mimi’s involvement brought resolution, not excuses. I’ve been in early morning and late night meetings with Mimi Gleason, and she continued to actively work issues even while on vacations.

    Regarding development, in this economy we have not had many opportunities. Again, you may not agree with the outcomes, but the township manager did her homework and our representatives voted on the issues; none were unilateral decisions by the manager.

    Mimi Gleason is not a person who slacked off in her government job. If you saw Mimi work and followed her schedule, she was working far too many hours to enjoy her family and life.

    I wasn’t a bit surprised when Ms. Gleason resigned. There was no grand plan to resign and then bilk the taxpayers through a consulting engagement. The engagement is mutual. It is also natural that someone would look at their experience, ask “what’s next?” and think about future employment. It has already been stated that Mimi is young; why should she be handcuffed and roasted for doing what anyone else would do?

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  7. An annualized rate should be much higher than $260K in my opinion … after all most people who make that type of money work a good bit over 40 hours/ week … so let’s assume even a modest 50 hours/week …

    that’s 125 x 50 x 52 = 325,000

    [Reply]

  8. Wow – guess it all makes sense now. Countless residents speculated where she’d land…working for a developer (Duckworth perhaps??), or an assisted living facility? Her clear favoritism to push both votes through couldn’t be ignored.

    Thanks Pattye for uncovering more of the specifics. Guess Mimi can now use the C-1 and Trout Creek votes to pad her “economic development” wins. Nice – Good for you. Leave the taxpayers and residents who LIVE in Tredyffrin holding the bag!

    Shady, dishonest and shameful.

    [Reply]

  9. Good Grief! Do you really think Mimi controlled both the PC (which is appointed by the BOS) and the BOS? What power did she have over the PC and BOS? The PC is comprised of several hard working, knowledgeable, and independent thinking volunteers.
    What was Mimi’s secret weapon?

    Mimi is smart to get out before the budget negotiations and escape all the pettiness – with a nice healthcare plan to boot! She pulled long hours at a low per hour rate – I’ve seen her at many 7:30am meetings and often working past 11pm – that is not a life.

    [Reply]

    Tredyffrin Citizen Reply:

    Last I checked, 1 person (if there even was one) does not make a majority on two separate boards.

    And if anyone is following this for real factual information – as the BOS clarified last night and as Pattye corrected herself – Mimi did not get a healthcare plan for life.

    [Reply]

    Interested citizen Reply:

    @ Tredyffrin Citizen – so the PC is made up of “Independent thinkers”??
    Haha. That made me chuckle. Thanks for the laugh! :-)

    Just ask a handful of residents that dealt with them month in and month out during the TCOO or C-1 development issues. My guess is that they’d feel pretty differently.

    It’s a shame that THOSE meetings aren’t televised and available for playback. Pattye would be able to show video clips where 1 or 2 PC members would make a statement, and the rest would fall in line immediately.

    Independent thinkers….LOL.

    [Reply]

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