by Jack Minor -
Greeley residents who have seen their wages remain stagnant can take solace in knowing that working for the President pays well. The top 20 members of the White House staff averaged a 50 percent salary increase for 2010-2011.
The gawker.com reported that in 2009-2010, 75 percent of continuing staffers received a raise. For this year the number had decreased to only 54 percent. The average increase was 8 percent.
When Obama first became President, he issued a directive freezing the pay of all white house officials earning over $100,000. He later extended the freeze to include all other federal officials. The New York Times reported at the time that the federal freeze “wiped out plans for a 1.4 percent across the board increase in 2011 for 2.1 million federal civilian employees.”
However, the freeze did not actually take effect until 2011. Prior to the freeze, raises were issued to many White House staffers including Kevin Lewis, the director of African-American Media, who had his wages increase from $42,000 to $78,000, an 86 percent increase. At the lower end of the scale Andrea Turk, Director of Information Services, had a paltry 40 percent increase from $50,000 to $70,000.
The White House justified the increases, saying that the number of staffers fell, and what matters is the total budget, not individual salaries. The administration said the average salary is decreasing slightly. Counting employees that did not get raises, the average salary is now $81,765 which is 65 percent above the median household income.
The economic numbers are keeping with the rest of Washington D.C. The area currently has the nation’s second lowest unemployment rate, averaging just 5.7 percent.
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