Report: 77,000 federal employees make more than governors

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For their part, federal workers have already seen their salaries and benefits eyed as policymakers look to rein in deficits. 

For instance, President Obama’s budget, released in February, included a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal employees. Lawmakers are also looking for ways to roll back the size of the federal workforce, with one measure calling for one new employee to replace every two that depart the federal government.

But Beth Moten of the American Federation of Government Employees told The Washington Times that federal contractors — who she said could make upwards of $700,000 a year — were the real issue. 

“If those governors want to make more money, they should either become contractors or try applying to medical school,” Moten said.

William Dougan, the national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, added in a statement given to The Hill that the report amounted to just 0.3 percent of the federal workforce. 

"It is truly sad that Senator Coburn would use public dollars to fund a fishing expedition to smear hardworking federal employees," Dougan said. 

For his part, Coburn said in a statement that no one would disagree that doctors who treat wounded soldiers deserve their salaries. "However, when our nation is over $14 trillion in debt and American families are struggling to make ends meet, this report begs for an explanation of why interior designers, recreation planners, and other public employees are enjoying higher salaries than state governors," the senator added. 

The report found one federal interior designer and more than a dozen recreation planners that made more than their respective governors, as well as more than 5,000 air traffic controllers and roughly 4,300 attorneys.

Governors’ salaries range from $70,000 a year in Maine to $212,179 in California. Colorado (10,875) and Maryland (7,283) had the most federal workers outpace its governor, while Delaware, with just 37, had the fewest.

This post was updated at 8:10 p.m.