RT chief’s retirement deal gets chopped, but anger remains

Mike Wiley
Mike Wiley

Sacramento Regional Transit chief Mike Wiley’s proposed retirement date has been moved up and his severance package reduced amid public complaints that Wiley is getting a sweetheart deal.

The new deal, proposed by Wiley, will be voted on Monday by the agency board, and is expected to save the financially struggling transit district $135,000 this year in reduced salary for Wiley.

According to staff calculations, it also would save the agency $6,730 annually in reduced ongoing annual pension-related payments. The new proposal also lowers the terms of a potential personal services contract the agency may sign with Wiley after his retirement.

The board also is scheduled to vote Monday night on an agency budget for next year, and will be asked to dip into its emergency accounts for $4 million to balance the current fiscal year's budget, essentially depleting those reserves.

Wiley’s retirement deal has stirred anger among union officials and riders, several of whom have called for Wiley’s package to be reduced. The agency laid off 20 management and administrative personnel two weeks ago, and will increase fares by an average of 10 percent on July 1.

At a recent RT board meeting, Fabrizio Sasso, executive director of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, called Wiley’s personal services contract “insane.” A rider called the retirement pay a “slice of economic inequality cake.”

Wiley’s retirement date had been set for Dec. 31. But his successor, Henry Li, already is on staff and will take over as RT general manager next Friday.

RT officials initially said they wanted Wiley to stay on through the end of the year to ease the transition. The new proposal calls for Wiley to stop work Aug. 1 instead. A staff report indicates Wiley and Li agreed that Li does not need Wiley’s services.

“I proposed it because I am extremely sensitive to the fiscal situation of RT,” Wiley said. “This enables RT to save a significant amount of money. I view this as me doing my part to help RT in its fiscal situation.”

RT may still, however, initiate a personal services contract with Wiley as a retired annuitant until November 2017. Originally, that contract was to have been capped at $50,000 maximum. The new proposal is for a $25,000 maximum, with no guarantee or requirement that RT will ask Wiley to do any billable work.

As part of his initial deal, Wiley could have gotten up to $285,612 a year in retirement, including $75,000 a year that would come out of RT’s operating budget. The proposed new deal would reduce the maximum potential pension to $279,000, and reduce the hit to RT’s operations budget annually by $6,730. Wiley said he plans to take a pension payment plan, however, that will give him about $220,000 annually.

Sasso of the Central Labor Council said that even with the proposed reductions, Wiley’s package is out of line.

“The public should be outraged that (extra) money is coming out of RT’s operations budget for his pension,” Sasso said. “They had to steal money from the operations budget. Does he need that? That is the kind of recklessness this agency has taken for a long time.”

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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