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77,000 Federal Employees Make More Than Their State Governors

"now is the time to ask agencies — not just governors — to do more with less"

77,000.

That's the number of federal employees throughout the country that are paid more than the governors in their respective states. And if you think they are all high-level workers, think again. According to the Washington Times, the list includes computer operators, more than 5,000 air traffic controllers, 22 librarians, one interior designer.

From the Times:

The findings, from a Congressional Research Service report requested by Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, were released at a time when public workers’ salaries and benefits are under scrutiny across the country as governments try to streamline.

CRS reviewed 2009 salary figures, the most recent available, and found 77,057 employees who earned more in annual pay than their respective governors. Of those workers, 18,351 were doctors — the highest percentage. The second-highest total was for 5,170 air traffic controllers — likely both front-line controllers and their supervisors.

In Maryland, 7,283 federal employees — about 7 percent of all full-time federal employees in the state — earned more than Gov. Martin O'Malley’s $150,000 salary. Maryland was topped by Colorado, which in 2009 had 10,875 employees who made more than the $90,000 salary of the governor, Bill Ritter.

“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,” Coburn told the Times. “With our debt and deficits spiraling out of control, now is the time to ask agencies — not just governors — to do more with less.”

When contacted by the Times, the government's largest union-- the American Federation of Government Employees -- blamed the high numbers on contractors. Still, though, the numbers point to a larger problem, especially considering the make up of those receiving the salaries:

CRS said nationwide there were 122 park rangers, 271 environmental protection specialists, 14 chaplains and one prison guard who earned more than their governors. There were also 21 archaeologists, three sociologists, 48 social workers, four food service workers and five civil rights analysts who made more than their governors.

[...]

Air traffic controllers, who were the second-biggest group to get salaries higher than their governors, also generally have high salaries. That category likely includes both front-line controllers and their supervisors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the median salary for an air traffic controller in May 2008 was $111,870, while the top 10 percent earned $161,010 or more a year.

Read the full story from the Times.

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