The day after he was sworn into office, Obama announced he would freeze the salaries of White House employees who make $100,000 or more. The order affects 146 of the 487 employees on the payroll. It is not yet clear whether Obama will lift the freeze for those workers for 2010.
Obama said at the time that the freeze was appropriate given the state of the economy, and used the same rationale when he proposed a 2 percent pay increase for civil service employees and a 2.9 percent raise for members of the armed forces in his draft budget in February. The House has approved a 3.4 percent pay hike for service members, and advocates of pay parity are pushing for civil servants to get the same raise. The National Treasury Employees Union declined to comment on what implication the White House salaries might have on the debate over federal pay.
Just one of the White House staffers is making more than the top-paid members of the Senior Executive Service, who will earn as much as $177,000 in 2009. Among Obama's employees, 22 will be paid $172,200 this year.
The highest paid employee on the list is David Marcozzi, the White House director of public health policy, who makes $192,934. He is detailed to the White House from the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. According to the federal salary database run by Asbury Park Press, Marcozzi was a GS-15 receiving a base salary of $149,000 in 2008, more than the $124,010 salary for a GS-15, Step 10 employee on the 2008 General Schedule salary tables.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story overstated the salary of the highest-paid Senior Executive Service members.