Ficano: Staff Suspended, Fired Over $200K Payout

DETROIT (WWJ) – After an internal investigation, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano announced Friday that two county employees were suspended and another fired over the ongoing controversy surrounding a $200,000 payout to Turkia Awada Mullin.

“Procedures were not followed,” Ficano said during a press conference.

Deputy Executive Azzam Elder and Corporation Counsel Marianne Talon were suspended for 30 days without pay and the county fired Tim Taylor, a contract employee. Taylor, a retiree, was serving as part-time human resources director when he reportedly signed Mullin’s severance package. 

Ficano promised the county commission he would work with them on compensation issues after public outrage erupted over the $200,000 severance package given to Mullin when she left a job in Wayne County government. Mullin moved over to a job as CEO of Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

“As this issue evolved, I made a direct call from overseas to Miss. Mullin, and I asked that she return the money. And I was very pleased that we agreed that returning the money was really the right thing to do,” Ficano said at the time.

“I’ve already launched an internal review of the facts and circumstances that lead to this payment. And you have my full commitment that the review will be expeditious and that I will put protections in place to make sure that this situation isn’t repeated,” Ficano said.

Commissioners said they were not aware of the severance payment and that there is no precedent for paying any employee severance when they leave a job voluntarily — or even if they are fired.

Mullin initially told the media said she deserved the money, though county employees have been forced to accept 10 percent pay cuts and higher health care cost because of the county’s dire financial condition.

Later, in a statement, Mullin said that giving back the money was the best thing to do.


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