Published 12:00 am Friday, August 12, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — When he retired Aug. 1, former City Manager David Treme received more than $72,000 from the city in annual leave payout and a performance bonus.
The city reported $34,931.64 as a performance bonus to the N.C. Local Government Employees’ Retirement System, said Kelly Baker, deputy city clerk. Treme also received an annual leave payout of $37,870.17.
Salisbury City Council voted unanimously in January to award Treme a bonus equal to three months of his salary when he retired, “in recognition of his loyal and superior performance as city manager for over 25 years.” His annual salary was $139,726.50, and his last raise — 4 percent — was awarded in 2007.
If he’d stayed until Dec. 31, 2012, Treme’s performance bonus could have doubled to $70,000.
In March, a spokesperson for the N.C. Department of State Treasurer said according to state law, any bonus paid upon retirement is not considered compensation for purposes of the retirement system.
“Any bonus paid incident to retirement does not change a person’s retirement benefit,” Heather Strickland said in an email.
All city employees who have accrued annual leave receive a payout when they leave, Baker said.
The rate of accumulation for annual leave depends on the number of years someone has worked for the city. All employees are entitled to a payout of their unused annual leave, regardless of their years of service, she said.
Employees with more than seven years of service, like Treme, who worked for the city for more than 25 years, can carry over 360 hours of annual leave at the end of the year. Anything above that is converted into sick leave, which can then be credited toward retirement, Baker said.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.