Pay & Benefits Watch Pay & Benefits WatchPay & Benefits Watch
Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

More Than 15,000 Federal Employees Make at Least $200K

ARCHIVES
Maryna Pleshkun/Shutterstock.com

Most of the discussion of pay for federal employees in recent months and years has been about insufficient or non-existent raises, pay gaps and budget shortfalls.

Not all feds are making out so poorly, however.

A new database compiled by FedSmith.com, using data from the Office of Personnel Management and other agencies, shows more than 15,000 federal employees earned at least $200,000 in 2013. That’s roughly 1 percent of all federal workers on the list; some employees in national security positions were not included in the database.

The vast majority of the top 1 percent of feds were doctors at the Veterans Affairs Department. The highest earning employee was a Veterans Health Administration doctor in Pittsburgh, who took in just more than $400,000 last year. More than 1,200 employees made more than $300,000.

Other agencies that require a highly specialized workforce paid several employees at least $200,000, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Financial Housing Finance Agency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

All of these employees are paid on systems specific to their agency or occupation. Some of these systems have much higher pay caps than the General Schedule, which sets the salaries for the vast majority of federal employees and capped annual pay -- before adjusting for locality -- at just less than $130,000.

Even members of the Senior Executive Service have their pay capped at $181,500 for 2014. The highest paid feds on the Executive Schedule, such as agency heads and the vice president, will earn $201,700. Deputy heads will receive less than $200,000.

This pie chart breaks down the percentage of employees on each of the federal pay scales, according to the latest data from OPM:

Bonuses

Many federal employees are able to boost their base salaries each year through bonuses.

Most bonuses are relatively small -- fewer than 1,000 feds received a five-figure pay bump, according to the database. Some top executives, however, were able to really cash in.

Sixteen federal employees received bonuses of more than $50,000. The highest award was nearly $63,000.

Banning Bonuses?

Some lawmakers want to ensure that certain federal employees do not receive such a pay bump.

A group of conservative lawmakers wrote a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., to cut off any funding for Internal Revenue Service workers involved in the political targeting of mostly conservative groups when conducting audits.

The congressmen -- Reps. Dan Benishek, R-Mich.; Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich.; Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.; Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan.;  Walter Jones, R-N.C.; Pete Olson, R-Texas; and Steve Stockman, R-Texas -- said no employee in the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division should be eligible for a bonus.

“The power to tax is the power to destroy, and these employees at the IRS committed a grave injustice to countless Americans,” the lawmakers wrote. “It sends the wrong message to the American people that Congress would allow these ‘performance awards’ to be doled out after the wrongdoing occurred.”

The IRS agreed in February to partially reinstate its bonus program after it had previously announced plans to cancel it. 

(Top image via Maryna Pleshkun/Shutterstock.com)

Eric Katz joined Government Executive in the summer of 2012 after graduating from The George Washington University, where he studied journalism and political science. He has written for his college newspaper and an online political news website and worked in a public affairs office for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. Most recently, he worked for Financial Times, where he reported on national politics.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.