Loose Lips

Guess Michelle Rhee’s Severance Pay! (Hint: It’s Not Too Shabby)

Admit it, you're curious about how much Michelle Rhee's severance paycheck will be, aren't you? That's so rude.

Fortunately for you, LL is also rude. Here's what her contract (provided by a wonderful tipster) says:

You shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and may be removed in accordance with the Act. In the event that your employment is terminated for any reasons other than (i) criminal conduct, (ii) gross dereliction of duty or (iii) gross misconduct, you shall be entitled to a severance payment of up to 12 weeks of your base salary, plus any accrued leave, as well as an additional 12 weeks of administrative leave. Additionally, should you choose to terminate your appointment for good cause, you will receive a payment of up to 12 weeks of your base salary, plus any accrued leave, as well as an additional 12 weeks of administrative leave.

LL's no lawyer, but that looks like Rhee can get 24 weeks, also known as six months, of severance pay for leaving "for good cause," whatever that means. (It's hard to imagine Rhee didn't ensure her departure falls under that clause when she discussed it with Almost Mayor Vince Gray and Still Mayor Adrian Fenty.)

Her contract, which she signed in 2007, has a base pay of $275,000 plus yearly cost-of-living adjustments. So, for six months' pay, we're talking roughly $140,000 in severance, plus whatever leave she's built up.

LL has tried unsuccessfully to reach various city officials who can provide an authoritative amount, but hasn't gotten much of an answer. (Fenty spokeswoman Mafara Hobson says this: "I don't know that she gets a severance.") LL will update as needed.

  • Kathy

    The D.C. government needs to stop writing employment contracts that pay people severance when they resign. This practice has been going on for far too many years!

  • DCPS parent

    It is all about the children right? Meanwhile almost half of black children are living in poverty in DC and city services are being cut back. Rhee should be ashamed of herself.

    I remember reading an article a couple months back about items on Rhee's wedding registry. Anyone who puts these kinds of high end frivolous items on their list does not a severance package, particularly when she resigned and was not fired . We all should protest this especially in these extremely tough financial times.

    Is it really all about the children or some adults' bank accounts?

  • candycane1

    Right now she is serving at the pleasure of Fenty and not Gray. She made the statement that she and Gray mutually decided but it's not Gray's call in October. So resigning under Fenty should not entitle her to receive severance. Fenty didn't fire her nor did "he" ask her to resign. She deserves nothing. As much as she has been away from the office, on planes and TV she accumulated her severance already.

  • blue penn

    Will the fired principal of her school get her job back since her kids will no longer be going there (presumably)?

  • Jason

    It really doesn't seem outrageous. The fact is, you cannot hire and retain top people (love her or hate her) for highly political or publicly visible jobs if you do not offer this sort of thing. These jobs have no security so they require it to be built-in somehow. The goal is to keep it form being outrageous. It doesn't seem like $140,000 was all that much considering she had to be hired knowing she could just lose her job any day of the week.

  • David

    She deserves it!

  • a teacher

    She deserves nothing. She is leaving a job undone and was not fired. Her plan also did not work.

  • Kathy

    Severance pay is supposed to go to people who are involuntarily separated from their jobs without cause.

    There is absolutely no good reason that the D.C. government should be writing employment contracts that entitle employees to severance pay when they walk away from their job.

    No one is forcing Michelle Rhee to leave her job at this time. (In fact, Gray might have been more receptive to the idea of her staying on had Rhee not CHOSEN to campaign against him.) This is her choice, so she should not be entitled to severance.

  • SEis4ME

    October 14th, 2010
    7:06 am #5
    It really doesn’t seem outrageous. It doesn’t seem like $140,000 was all that much.

    It really doesn’t seem outrageous. It doesn’t seem like $140,000 was all that much.

    It really doesn’t seem outrageous. It doesn’t seem like $140,000 was all that much.

    And that's your rationale? That because she's an at-will employee (serves the mayor) that she should be entitled to 140k of herr 275k salary when she made the ultimate decision to leave?

    And that's your rationale? Because she "deserves" it?


  • http://ABF ABF

    She resigned therefore she should resign to leave the money here for the kids. She is always saying it's about the children right???

  • noodlez




  • Sheila H. Gill

    Rhee was not Riffed or fired from DC Government. She doesn't deserve any more DC Tax payers' monies. Rhee overspent, overhired and misapproriate DCPS funds 2007-10. In addition, Rhee abused her leave and was working as a consultant for DC Public Education Reformers (Bloomberg, Gates, Sam Walton, Arne Duncan, George Bush, and Eli Broad)

    Rhee needs to donate her profits to the DCPS neediest kids funds. Shame on her!!

  • Sheila H. Gill

    Correction: Rhee overspent, overhired and misappropriated DCPS funds 2007-10.

  • Jason B.

    Jason: Your comment about how MR deserves this severance because the poor thing is working in a high profile job with no job security... Well, no job security sounds like nearly every single person in DC and all the other "at-will" employment States in the Country. Any of us non-union employees in DC can be let go at will.

    And least we forget, she quit!!!!! Therefore, severance should be a non-issue! If anyone wants to twist this by saying that it was a mutual decison between her and Gray, should remember Gray is not the Mayor.

    Just try claiming severance for being let go if you go and "mutually agree" to end your employment with someone who IS NOT YOUR BOSS!

  • Boney

    You all act like the next Chancellor of DCPS will be making less the $240k a year and will not have a similar severance agreement in place prior to accepting the position.

    Y'all are hating for the sake of hating. You will see the good that happened under her watch once the interim chancellor leaves.

  • incredulous

    Thegift that keeps on giving, maybe. Find out about her pension, and how it is lifted by the severence.
    Why should you? Because her lawyer did. And, because your kids may unfortunate enough to be taxed to pay that pension.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com try2staysanendc

    Yea Jason. Just like you were ok with the new law that Lanier is trying to get passed so that her command staff can keep their pay even if they loss their rank. Have you not hear that we have a huge budget that needs to be address? We will most likely have a new mayor momentarily. No one who resigns or demoted cause of new leadership should keep their pay. No one. That's what at will means. Why change it now? These are the price you pay for dealing with the devil (Fenty). What a pieces of trash you Jason turned out to be. And to think that you where a fair man? Wrong. You all really do stick together. Mr.Gray I hope you are paying attention. These kind of things that Fenty allow to happen and caused should not happen under your watch. I pray they don't.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com try2staysanendc

    Thanks candycane1, noodlez, jason b, seis4me,abf and kathy for keeping it real.

  • http://ABF ABF

    Did someone say she didn't have security...WHATEVER she had security with a gun and driver...