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20% Federal Workers Make Over $100K

From USA Today:

For feds, more get 6-figure salaries

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

December 11, 2009

The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession’s first 18 months — and that’s before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.

The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.

When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules

Jessica Klement, government affairs director for the Federal Managers Association, says the federal workforce is highly paid because the government employs skilled people such as scientists, physicians and lawyers. She says federal employees make 26% less than private workers for comparable jobs.

USA TODAY analyzed the Office of Personnel Management’s database that tracks salaries of more than 2 million federal workers. Excluded from OPM’s data: the White House, Congress, the Postal Service, intelligence agencies and uniformed military personnel.

The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker’s pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector.

Key reasons for the boom in six-figure salaries:

• Pay hikes. Then-president Bush recommended — and Congress approved — across-the-board raises of 3% in January 2008 and 3.9% in January 2009. President Obama has recommended 2% pay raises in January 2010, the smallest since 1975. Most federal workers also get longevity pay hikes — called steps — that average 1.5% per year.

•New pay system. Congress created a new National Security Pay Scale for the Defense Department to reward merit, in addition to the across-the-board increases. The merit raises, which started in January 2008, were larger than expected and rewarded high-ranking employees. In October, Congress voted to end the new pay scale by 2012.

• Paycaps eased. Many top civil servants are prohibited from making more than an agency’s leader. But if Congress lifts the boss’ salary, others get raises, too. When the Federal Aviation Administration chief’s salary rose, nearly 1,700 employees’ had their salaries lifted above $170,000, too.

Well, it’s not like these federal workers aren’t adding wealth to our economy with their work product.

And why shouldn’t someone slaving away at the Social Security Administration get upward of $170,000 a year? (Not counting overtime and bonuses.)

They are in a union.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, December 11th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “20% Federal Workers Make Over $100K”

  1. proreason says:

    You may wonder how somebody can survive on $100K+ a year, but don’t forget their gold-plated medical benefits, and platinum retirement packages.

    And it’s probably worth something to have a job from which you can’t be fired or laid off, and for which the salary goes up every year regardless of the economy, and for which advancement is automatic, and which has more holidays than other jobs, and for which vacation and sick time accrues across years, and which has strict work hours that you can’t exceed and generous work breaks and virtually no standards of performance and virtually no hiring standards. And of course, once you learn the job, it will change at the pace of Methusala, because the work rules are unrelated to the economy…they are dictated by laws that rarely change. All of that has to be worth something.

    That’s why so many people are willing to accept the piddling salaries.

  2. BillK says:

    Just to be fair about it – if someone is actively employed in a position with the Federal Government for which they would be paid a similar salary in the private sector, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to compensate them accordingly.

    The problem is when their salary has ceased to have any relationship to the private sector thanks to collective bargaining agreements, mandated annual salary increases and the like.

    • Pay hikes. Then-president Bush recommended — and Congress approved — across-the-board raises of 3% in January 2008 and 3.9% in January 2009. President Obama has recommended 2% pay raises in January 2010, the smallest since 1975. Most federal workers also get longevity pay hikes — called steps — that average 1.5% per year.

    I wonder how many private sector employees – at least of those still employed – have seen a pay raise of any kind since January, 2008?

    • proreason says:

      “if someone is actively employed in a position with the Federal Government for which they would be paid a similar salary in the private sector, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to compensate them accordingly.”

      1. The benefits are wildly different. Pensions, sick time, holidays, work hours, work rules, etc.

      2. Civil Service workers can’t be fired unless they call their boss the n-word.

      3. A government worker’s “company” can never go out of business. Layoff’s are rare.

      4. Civil Service salaries go up, no matter what happens. Definitely not true in private industry. (That doesn’t mean that everybody in the government is incompetant. But over a broad spectrum, the quality of worker is quaranteed to be lower than private industry.)

      Government workers should make about 1/2 what private industry makes for equivalent qualifications, just based on those 4 things.

      And in addition, because the government has to reflect society, hiring standards are lower. They have to be. If you don’t believe it, call the IRS for tax advice.

      But instead of making 1/2, the government workers make nearly twice private industry.

      Orwell lives.

  3. joeblough says:

    So, we are to conclude that the “stimulus” program stimulated what?

  4. Right of the People says:

    Trust me, the bennies are not as great as everyone thinks. The medical plan is expensive and not nearly as good as a lot of large companies. You would think that the buying power the fed has it should be the best but each agency negotiates their own policy with the insurance companies. My deductible is 500 bucks a person per year and the monthly payments for just myself and my wife (no kids) are over 200 a pay (about 425 a month). You start with only 2 weeks a year vacation and it takes 3 years to get to 3 weeks which is a bit quicker than some place who require 5 years to get 3. The sick time is good and we get the 10 holidays a year but a lot of companies do. Retirement is probably the best bennie of all I won’t lie about that but the pay is in many cases not nearly as good as the private sector. I’m in IT and I could make more out in the private sector in a lot of states but not in Vermont and I’m not leaving here so I keep working for the fed. Unfortunately, a lot of the federal employees are to use the old expression, teats on a boar hog, and a lot of the agencies are unnecessary like HUD and the IRS but the Border Patrol does a much needed job as does the military so I don’t feel like a drain on the country.

  5. pagar says:

    “Exclusive: IRS hires “hundreds” for new wealth unit”

    LINK

    My guess is that none of these New Hires lean conservative, that none of them will ever again have to worry about losing their job, and that a whole lot of the positions pay very well.

    Meanwhile, we have a Sec of the Treasury that couldn’t figure out how to file his taxes correctly.


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