The amount of salary federal employees make as opposed to private sector compensation is often a point of contention. But there is more to the issue than just comparing the private sector to the federal sector. For example, some in federal human resources management or equal employment opportunity make much more than others for doing the same job for Uncle Sam. In fact, the more highly compensated employees often work for much smaller agencies with relatively small budgets and a small number of federal employees.
Many of the more highly compensated administrative professionals make more because they often work in agencies that are not under the requirements of the general pay schedule.
The drafters of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989, which bankers know as FIRREA, for example, probably never considered that it would result in substantially higher pay and benefits for administrative personnel working at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) than those doing the exact same job a block away at the Department of Interior. Both jobs are in Washington DC, both use the METRO to get to work and both are federal employees.
For example, the most highly compensated person in Equal Employment Opportunity at the FDIC appears to be the Complaints Processing Branch Chief, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion and receives $181,820. The FDIC has 5,381 employees and a budget of approximately $3.4 billion. The most highly compensated person in EEO at the Department of Interior is the Director for the Office of Civil Rights receives $179,700. Interior has approximately 67,383 employees and a budget of more than $12 billion.
One difference is that many of these smaller regulatory agencies negotiate pay with unions. (See Negotiating Federal Salary: How Do Negotiated Pay Levels in Agencies Compare to the Average Federal Salary?) Some of the human resources people that do the bargaining for the agency with the union that represents employees may also benefit from the higher salaries paid by the agencies. Perhaps Congress never thought through the implications of that process before setting up these different pay systems.
The other difference is that, for most federal agencies, the money they spend is appropriated by Congress. For many of the smaller regulatory agencies, their expenditures are paid by the industries being regulated. Arguably, the source of the money should not make much difference in determining the monetary value of a job from one agency to another but, in reality, if the money is available to an agency to pay higher salaries, chances are it will be used.
The message to federal administrative professionals is clear: You may be able to use your federal experience to land a much higher paying job using your experience in the same field you gained working for another agency. And, keep in mind, it isn’t just the yearly salary. With the higher salary you will receive as a federal employee, you are likely to reap the rewards for many years to come as a retired federal employee.
Which of these agencies have the most highest paid human resources and equal employment opportunity employees? The winner is the Comptroller of the Currency. This agency of 3104 employees has six employees on the list. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an agency with approximately 5381 employees, comes in a close second with 5 employees on the list.
The overall winning individual, that is the highest paid employee on these two lists in an agency with the smallest number of employees: the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The agency has 504 employees with one employee on the list.
Highest Paid Human Resources Employees
The table below displays the highest paid federal employees in the human resources management field according to the data in FedsDataCenter.com. You can use the search engines at the FedsDataCenter.com site to search for individual employee salaries. The most highly compensated employees in the human resources field range from a low of about $179,000 to a high of about $227,485 on the first page of our search results. The salary information is from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Keep in mind this salary data is normally made available at least one year late so the actual ranking of the highest paid employees will change as new data become available. Some employees have probably retired or moved to different positions since the original data was compiled. The average salary for this classification: $87,128.59
The average salary for a federal employee is about $74,000 according to several sources.
Without a doubt, some of these highly compensated human resources professionals have unique talents that may justify the higher salary. In other cases, they probably happen to be working for an agency that is outside the usual general schedule employed by most agencies. Some of the small agencies have several of the highest paid employees in government in the human resources office which means that some of the highest paid employees are not in charge of the office.
To use the example cited above, the highest paid human resources professional at the relatively small FDIC is paid $216,388. The highest paid HR professional in the much larger Department of the Interior makes $155,500.
|Name||Agency||# of Agency Employees||Salary|
|Rodriguez, Avelino L||Office Of Thrift Supervision||944||$227,485|
|Katcoff, Benjamin H||Comptroller Of the Currency||3104||
|Crosser, Joy R.||FDIC||5381||$216,388|
|Bowden, Dorothy G.||Commodity Futures Trading Commission||498||$196,315|
|Ellison, Teresa F||Securities and Exchange Commission||3642||$194,594|
|Jarcho, Vivian B||Securities and Exchange Commission||3642||$194,297|
|McCoy, Catherine M||Commodity Futures Trading Commission||498||$192,818|
|Gabel, Allan A||Comptroller of the Currency||3104||$190,352|
|Oleson, Eric J||Commodity Futures Trading Commission||498||$189,749|
|Talley, Gregory Dale||Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation||5381||$187,678|
|Stewart, Kathleen||Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation||5381||$186,969|
|Ferrell, Bart C.||Presidio Trust||323||$185,000|
|Mack, Larry K||Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation||5381||$183,652|
|Muir, Stephen||Comptroller of the Currency||3104||$182,620|
|Charles, Joy C||Comptroller of the Currency||3104||$181,433|
|Dawsey, Antonia T||NASA Headquarters||18,100||$179,700|
|Taglialatela, Linda S||Dept. of State||18,900||$179,700|
|Wiggins Sandra L.||Agency for International Development||2647||$179,700|
|Gaugler, Christine E||Customs and Border Protection||58,105||$179,700|
|Shamley, John H||Federal Aviation Administration||46,794||$179,700|
|Amaral, David M||Dept. of Energy||16,000||$179,700|
|Neal, Jeffrey R||DHS HQ||230,000||$179,700|
|Milton, William P. Jr||Dept. of Agriculture||104,305||$179,700|
Highest Paid EEO Managers
Of course, it isn’t just human resources folks who work in administrative positions in all agencies. Another example: Equal Employment Opportunity managers.
According to our database, the highest paid EEO official in the federal government works for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Here is a listing of the highest paid EEO official in the federal government according to the FedsDataCenter.com information. The highest paid in this list receives $224,182 and the lowest receives $160,115. The average salary: $98,978.
|Name||Agency||# of Agency Employees||Salary|
|Cofield, Joyce Byrd||Comptroller Of Currency||3104||$224,182|
|Moran, Michael P||Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation||5381||$181,820|
|Dickerson, Terri A||U.S. Coast Guard||49,542||$179,700|
|Wells, Barry L.||Agency For International Development||2647||$179,700|
|Thurmond A. Jacy, Jr||Social Security Administration||66,666||$179,700|
|Robinson John M||Dept. of State||18,900||$179,700|
|Manuel Brenda||NASA HQS||18,100||$179,700|
|Eller, Sharon D||Office Of The Secretary Of The Interior||67383||$179,700|
|Aramaki, Suzan J||Commerce, Office of Civil Rights||56,259||$179,700|
|Horner, Mary J||Health Resources And Services Adm||1,540||$177,912|
|Carmichael, Jennifer K||Transportation Security Admin.||53,421||$172,550|
|Berman, Susan L||Federal Deposit Insurance Corp||5381||$172,279|
|Williams, Harnetta R||Federal Aviation Administration||46,794||$169,188.|
|Howard, William E||Federal Housing Finance Agency||504||$167,000|
|Williams, Barbara D||Nuclear Regulatory Commission||3930||$165,300|
|Jackson, Linda M||NASA HQS.||18,100||$165,300|
|Jones, Franklin C||Customs And Border Protection||58,105||$164,125|
|Rivera, Myrna M||Federal Aviation Administration||46,794||$163,883|
|Shih, Stephen T.||DHS HQs||230,000||$162,790|
|Torres, Miguel A||NASA Hqs||18,100||$162,113|
|Elzy, Nadine L||Government Printing Office||2200||$161,175|
|Tudisco, Rebecca Valas||Comptroller of the Currency||3104||$160,115|
No doubt, the dispute about federal salaries will go on for some time. The disparity in salaries for similar positions between federal agencies will likely add fuel to the fiery dispute. Those who favor higher salaries for all federal employees will use the data to argue for higher salaries. Those who favor lower salary levels and lower government spending will use the data as being indicative of government spending that is out of control.
The data are here for everyone to see. Those employees in the lower paying jobs will now know where to look for their next position in the federal government.