Federal Salaries Under Fire

Susan Hall

A report from the Congressional Research Service requested by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has found that 77,000 federal employees make more than the governors in the states in which they work.


The Washington Times reports that the majority of these workers are doctors, air-traffic controllers or IT professionals. But they also include 122 park rangers, 48 social workers, 21 archaeologists, 14 chaplains, five civil rights analysts, four food service workers, three sociologists, one interior designer and one prison guard.


Coburn makes the comparison to the governor's pay this way:

Across America, governors are being asked to do more with less, often at lower pay than federal employees in their states. The pay gap between governors and federal employees should prompt Congress to take a closer look at federal salaries. With our debt and deficits spiraling out of control, now is the time to ask agencies - not just governors - to do more with less.

Since some governors don't make that much, it's not unexpected that some senior federal workers make more. In the study, based on 2009 figures, California's governor made the most, $212,179, though Arnold Schwarzenegger did not take a salary. The state had 703 federal workers making more; all but 34 of them were in medicine. Meanwhile, 3,423 federal employees made more than the Maine governor's $70,000.


Meanwhile, Beth Moten, legislative and political director for the American Federation of Government Employees, says the bigger issue is the pay going to government contractors.


A study by International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, (ISC)2, released recently found top federal cyber security execs were well-paid by industry standards, though the pay of entry-level IT pros in this area lags badly, which doesn't bode well for the government's efforts to hire 30,000 cyber security pros in the coming years.


Though review of some salaries might be in order, you would hope that government pay would allow it to hire and retain the best doctors to treat wounded soldiers and tech experts to fend off the increasing cyber attacks.

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