Documents Reveal Fake Retirement Scheme at UW Green Bay

MacIver News Service | October 12, 2011

[Madison, Wisc…] Documents obtained by a State Representative and reviewed by the MacIver News Service reveal that UW Green Bay officials knew they would be rehiring Tom Maki as Vice Chancellor and openly discussed the move only four days after he retired in March.

Tom Maki, Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, announced his decision to retire on March 7, 2011. He officially retired four days later on March 11.

The Wisconsin Retirement System and Employee Trust Fund allows retired workers to take public jobs and collect pension payments as long as they’ve been retired for at least 30 days.

“The records my office obtained leave little doubt that discussions were underway for Tom Maki’s return prior to his retirement,” said State State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Chairman of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee. “In fact, he drafted his own re-employment contract prior to his retirement.  This whole affair just keep getting worse,”

In an email dated March  14, only four days after Maki’s retirement UW Green Bay Chancellor Harden in an internal email that “I am pleased to announce that Tom Maki will be returning to UW-Green bay as a rehired annuitant on April 22, 2011.

A day later, Sheryl Van Gruensven, UW Green Bay’s director of human resources said Maki’s ‘rehire’ would actually occur on April 11. She wrote  in an email “We also need a PA form to end Tom Maki on 3/11 and then rehire in the same position on 4/11/10 at $131,048.”

Less than a month later, on March 31, 2011, Chancellor Thomas Harden publicly offered Maki his old job back at a salary of $131,048. Maki signed the offer letter on April 2, less than 30 days after he announced his retirement.

Maki spent 33 years with the university, 20 in his current position. Since controversy brewed after news first broke about his sudden unretirement, Maki announced he would resign, for good this time, in December.

Earlier this month, State Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Chairman of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee, had expressed outrage over the arrangement, which was first revealed on Mark Belling’s Milwaukee Radio Talk Show.

“The Maki situation raises serious doubt about the leadership of UW-Green Bay and the bill authorizing those same administrators to increase tuition on students. I am concerned about the stewardship of public resources at UW-Green Bay in light of the double dipping arrangement,” Nass said at the time.

The state Department of Employee Trust Funds is investigating Harden’s decision to rehire Maki after he retired. The move allowed Maki to collect his retirement pension and receive the same salary. He is not, however, receiving employee health benefits, but rather those financed by his retirement plan.

Nass had a meeting with the Green Bay Chancellor Wednesday.

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.