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Renee Walker to receive more than $140K in pay and benefits, 18 months of health coverage for exit

Renee Walker

Renee Walker will receive more than $140,000 in severance pay and benefits following her resignation last week as associate vice president of Central Michigan University’s office of communications.

According to the contract between Walker and CMU, obtained Wednesday by Central Michigan Life through a Freedom of Information Act request, she will receive a lump sum payment of one year’s salary, $122,570. CMU will also pay 10 percent of her salary equivalent to 18 months’ contribution, or $18,385.50, to a TIAA-CREF or Fidelity retirement fund in her name.

Both payments are to be paid no later than June 11, according to the agreement.

Additionally, the university will continue to cover Walker’s health, prescription drug, dental and vision insurance premiums for 18 months through its COBRA health plan.


The agreement was signed by both parties on May 23 following a 21-day review period. Walker’s resignation was announced by CMU on May 25. She remains an employee of the university until June 8.

Included in the contract were clauses allowing Walker to consult with an attorney prior to signing the contract and an agreement that neither party “criticize or impugn the reputation or character of either … based on any event or circumstances arising out of or related to employment with the University.”

It is against university policy for officials to publicly discuss an employee’s departure.

The contract also called for University President George Ross to issue Walker a positive letter of recommendation. In it, Ross touts Walker’s work to upgrade CMU’s branding, licensing and internal communications.

“She’s a highly strategic practitioner who inherently understood the need for University alignment,” he wrote. “Our ‘go-to-market’ look, feel and messaging was enhanced greatly during her tenure and as a result of her leadership.”

CMU will pay $10,000 in attorney fees to the law firm representing Walker, Sue Ellen Eisenberg & Associates, P.C., of Bloomfield Hills, after June 8.

Ross appointed Sherry Knight, founder of Saline-based communications firm Knight Writers, interim associate vice president of communications on Tuesday. She is contracted to work the next six months for $1,500 per day.

A national search will be held to name a permanent replacement.


  1. The Truth says:

    “It is against university policy for officials to publicly discuss an employee’s departure.”

    How about publicly discussing the expenditure of OUR money? I’m so tired of this condescending crap.  Most plebeians would be lucky to make $140K in four years of working.  That’s because the people who aren’t fed on the public dime are in a recession.  You know, a recession?  The economic climate where people don’t get $140K for walking off their job?

    Hold on to your elitist illusions and keep shirking accountability while you still can. It will catch up to you one way or another.

    This right after they send a million dollars to Ohio for a web site.  CM Life should find out what kind of cronyism went into that, because I’m sure there’s several Michigan companies that Michigan taxpayers would be happier funneling their money to.  Hey, the taxes on that transaction could have paid Ms. Walker’s severance!

    Finally, if the interim is getting paid $1500 a day, I hope she’s coughing up gold dust or something.  This is the PEOPLE’S money and nobody is ENTITLED to it.

  2. That seems like quite a golden parachute, but unfortunately, its par for the course in these situations. I remember Renee being incredibly hostile to student journalist inquiries when I was at CM Life. Telling that Ross did not praise her for “external” communications.

  3. Youll Be Surprised says:

    Look into the company who built the website

  4. So the interim person is going to make more in 6 months then ms walker did in 1 year?? That does not make sense at all! 

  5. Incompetence Rewarded says:

    The tradition continues at CMU….rewarding incompetence at the administrative and managerial positions.

  6. I suppose a severance package is par for the course, but it’s still unfortunate. If high-level managers aren’t “at-will” employees, maybe they should be. And the president had to write a positive letter of recommendation? Wow.

  7. Walker’s attorney is owed $10k?  Gee, it doesn’t sound like things were acrimonious, does it?

  8. A national search means : exclude all qualified white males and focus on minorities or homosexuals.

    • P_housley says:

       @facebook-100003814085454:disqus Are you also the owner of The Blaze, Glen Beck’s FB site?  On the other matter, the last two heads of that department were hired via national searches and were white males.

    • Male Rights Advocacy says:

      Yep, because diversity and feminization are a key goal of the university. And it’s obviously working, since it has made CMU the greatest, and most cost effective university in the state. Oh wait.

  9. Sara Miller says:

    It’s called…terminated with the option to resign to save face….people who quit are not offered severance packages….she also most likely threatened to sue the university..hence the presence of a lawyer and the fees of 10K indicate serious allegations would probably have been leveraged against the university by Walker, most likely racial discrimination. Of course the university will pay to make her go away…simple as that. Too bad they hired the wrong person back in 2008.

  10. Male Rights Advocacy says:

    Would a male be getting this kind of deal?

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