Lark’s severance package

By Andy Balaskovitz
J. Peter Lark. City Pulse file photo.

Firing GM would cost BWL $129,280 plus benefits

Click here for Lark's most recent contract.

Friday, Jan. 3 — Lansing Board of Water and Light ratepayers could be on the hook for $129,280 in wages if General Manager J. Peter Lark’s contract is terminated before it expires in 2018.

Lark’s resignation is a topic of discussion following a Dec. 21 ice storm, both for his oversight of restoration efforts that left some without power for up to 10 days and reports of his taking a family vacation at the peak of it. Lark said at a press conference Thursday that he does not plan to resign.

But the eight-member Board of Commissioners could vote to terminate Lark’s contract, with or without cause, according to contract language.

BWL provided City Pulse with Lark’s most recent contract, which was approved on July 23. It shows Lark received a $10,000 increase in his base salary, from $248,560 in 2012-’13 to $258,560 in ’13-’14. The latest contract expires on June 30, 2018.

BWL contributes 18.5 percent, or $47,834, of his base salary for retirement benefits. Lark is scheduled to receive $40,000 in deferred compensation in addition to his base salary. BWL also pays dues for Lark’s membership at the University Club and another club of his choosing.

If Lark’s contract is terminated with “just cause,” he is entitled to six months’ salary ($129,280), as well as accrued vacation and “free choice” time, six months worth of health care benefits and up to $6,000 in outplacement services. Lark’s contract gives him five weeks of vacation and six days of “free choice” time a year. With benefits, the cost for terminating Lark’s contract exceeds $150,000.

The salary for the remainder of Lark’s contract would have to be paid out if it’s terminated without cause, according to contract language, which exceeds $1 million.

If Lark voluntarily resigns, he receives payment for any unused paid time off.

In light of news about Lark’s trip to New York City around Christmas, Lansing Online News reported Thursday on calls from Lansing City Council President Carol Wood and Delta Township Supervisor Ken Fletcher for Lark’s resignation.

“Yes I am asking for his resignation,” Wood told Lansing Online News in an email.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, has also called for his resignation.