NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some Federal Workers Make More than Governors

June 6, 2011

The Congressional Research Service reviewed civilian salary data in the executive branch provided by the Office of Personnel Management for 2009, the last year available.  About 77,000 federal employees across the United States -- including lawyers, air traffic controllers, medical personnel and information technology specialists -- had higher salaries in 2009 than the governors of the states they worked in, says the Washington Post.

  • Of the 77,057 federal workers who make more than the governors of their states, 18,351 were physicians, the highest percentage.
  • Air traffic controllers came in second at 5,170.
  • Colorado topped the list with 10,875 people making more than Gov. Bill Ritter, whose pay was $90,000.
  • In Maryland, 7,283 civil servants made more than Gov. Martin O'Malley, who was paid $150,000.
  • Virginia had 606 federal workers who took home more than Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, whose salary was $175,000.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress and state legislatures, along with think tanks and others, have argued for months over who is paid more: federal workers or those at private companies.  Critics of the federal workforce say public workers make more, in part because their benefits are often better than their private-sector counterparts.  Defenders say many mid- and high-level government workers could make far more in the private sector, says the Post.

Source: Lisa Rein, "Some Federal Workers Make More than Governors," Washington Post, June 1, 2011.

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