Two weeks after questions were raised about his high salary, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield has released his exact annual salary he agreed to after taking a pay cut to avoid being a distraction: his new pay rate is $209,700.
“Dr. Redfield is being paid in accordance with the formula used to pay the prior three CDC directors,” Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said on Tuesday. “Using that formula, his compensation for this year will be $209,700.”
As a renowned AIDS researcher at the University of Maryland Medical School—where he reportedly earned $757,100 in salary and bonuses—Redfield, after being nominated by President Trump to run CDC, came in at an annual salary of $375,000.
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That relatively high amount was executed under U.S. Code Title 42, a section designed to attract top scientists and other specialists to government work, which prompted Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to write to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to inquire why the special authority was used for an executive who was performing in a leadership role rather than doing research.
On Tuesday, HHS released past salaries for CDC leaders for comparison: Dr. Julie Gerberding, $207,000; Dr. Thomas Frieden, $209,700; and Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, $193,700.
“All of these individuals received a ‘physician comparability allowance’ or PCA,” the agency said in a statement. “HHS policy authorizes payment of a PCA when a candidate is eminently qualified for the position. Dr. Fitzgerald received a lower PCA because she had not previously served as a government physician for at least two years. Dr. Redfield was previously in federal service in the United States Army at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.”
The spokeswoman reiterated a statement that “the CDC is respected and renowned worldwide for its expertise in preventing, detecting and responding to infectious disease outbreaks. The recruitment of Dr. Robert Redfield was a rare opportunity to hire one of the world’s leading virologists.”