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

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.

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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.


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