Pensions approved

The same day Willie Herenton announced his upcoming retirement, the fifth-term mayor and two of his close associates quietly had their pensions approved by the city pension board.

The pensions of Herenton, retiring Chief Administrative Officer Keith Mc Gee and former bodyguard Tony Elion were approved Thursday after they were added to the pension board's regular agenda.

Herenton will receive a yearly pension of about $75,000. McGee's will receive a yearly pension of around $60,784. Elion, a police lieutenant assigned to provide security for Herenton, was last year named as public works deputy director over waste management. That move should provide a nice bump in his pension -- in his security role he earned a base salary of $59,132.65 while his new position pays $100,897 - although numbers weren't immediately available.

In recent months the Herenton administration has been proposing some changes to the city's pension system, including increasing scheduled return multiples, or increases, for workers with 16 years or more of service. Herenton has been in office for 18 years.

In addition to the pension changes, Herenton and McGee in February were urging the council to approve a buyout package for city employees. During a Feb. 20 City Council meeting, McGee fought hard during a nearly two-hour debate to have elected officials, division directors and deputy division directors included in the buyout plan.

After the council approved a buyout that did not include the three additional categories, Herenton dropped the plan


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As the process for merging Shelby County's schools accelerates into action, we'll provide bonus coverage here at, with a particular focus on the 21-member transition team and the 23-member unified school board. Comment early and often. If you have any tips or suggestions you wish to share, contact Zack McMillin at or 529-2564.

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