- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2003

The District has many more city workers earning $100,000 salaries than the much-larger city of Chicago, and 10 times more than Baltimore, a city with a comparable population, The Washington Times has learned.
With its 572,000 residents, the District has 156 more city workers above $100,000 than Chicago, which has almost 3 million people. Baltimore has a population of 651,000.
With a looming $323 million budget deficit, Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the D.C. Council say there is little they can do to shrink the District's city-paid work force of more than 34,000 or cut back on the 575 employees who earn $100,000 or more a year.
A Department of Personnel payroll list obtained by The Times shows that at least 15 of those executives, including the president of the sports commission, the head of the city university, the superintendent of public schools and the chief financial officer, are paid more than the mayor.
According to the list, Bobby D. Goldwater, president of the Sports and Entertainment Commission, is the city's highest-paid employee, at a salary of $275,000. Mr. Goldwater manages RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory, and is responsible for booking sports and entertainment at other venues for the city, most recently the World Figure Skating Championships at the MCI Center.
William L. Pollard, the new president of the University of the District of Columbia, is No. 2, with a salary of $200,000. His salary compares favorably to those of chief executives of universities with enrollments three to five times larger than UDC's 5,000 students.
Mr. Pollard is followed by Paul L. Vance, superintendent of D.C. public schools, who makes $175,000. The fourth-highest paid employee is Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, at $171,900.
The mayor has been vigorously lobbying Congress to approve a commuter tax or provide more federal funds to help close the budget shortfalls, projected at $134 million in fiscal 2003 and $144 million the following year.
But the administration has been criticized in recent weeks about revelations that the school system hired 640 persons for jobs not funded in their budget, an error that helped push the school district's share of the 2003 shortfall to $63 million.
The school system has also scrambled in recent days to explain how a former control board staffer, Dexter Lockamy, took home nearly $400,000 last year as a consultant hired to produce an employee payroll budget. School officials said Mr. Lockamy was not responsible for the hiring problem.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat and the District's nonvoting delegate to Congress, said through a spokeswoman that she has not yet seen any reason for concern about the escalation of pay for workers and the rising payroll costs. And she said Congress should not get involved.
Norton spokeswoman Doxie McCoy told The Times that her boss, responding to questions from The Times, said the six-figure salaries are an "internal matter" and that Congress shouldn't micromanage the District.
Mrs. Norton, according to Miss McCoy, said she had not heard any negative feedback on Capitol Hill about what District employees are earning.
The mayor deflects criticism of the growth in high-paying jobs during his tenure, saying the hirings have occurred in independent agencies he doesn't control, such as the Public Service Commission, the Office of the People's Counsel, D.C. public schools and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.
But many of the $100,000-a-year jobs have been created in new Cabinet-level agencies in the Williams administration.
"I think there has been too much of a focus on … competing with the private sector," said council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat.
Other council members agree with the mayor, who says the city has to pay more to attract better candidates, and compete with private industry and the federal government. Council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat, said her real concern is the high salaries of those in subordinate positions to senior managers.
According to the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the District is $40,127.
The cost of living in the Washington area is among the highest in the country. But the District employs more workers and pays more of them six-figure salaries than its larger and wealthier suburban neighbors.
For example, the highest-paid employee in Fairfax County is County Executive Anthony H. Griffin, who earns $187,494. Chief Administration Officers Jacqueline F. Brown in Prince George's County and Bruce Romer in Montgomery County, hold the top salaries of $135,000 and $180,729, respectively.
Few employees in surrounding jurisdictions, other than agency directors and top administration officials, have salaries approaching $100,000, said Prince George's and Montgomery officials.
Although the District pays its mayor less than the chief executive in Fairfax, Mr. Williams, whose pay is set by Congress, does make more than Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, who earns $136,732, and Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson, who earns $130,000.
The number of D.C. jobs, especially the 575 topping $100,000, far exceeds that of Baltimore, which has almost 80,000 more residents than the District. Baltimore employs 15,593 workers while the District work force of 34,000 is more than double that. Only 34 Baltimore city workers, including the mayor and the state's attorney, earn more than $100,000.
Chicago, a city more than five times the size of the District, with 2.9 million people, employs 40,093. And that city has more than 100 fewer employees earning salaries of $100,000 or more, 419, said officials in the office of Commissioner for Personnel Glenn E. Carr.
Boston, with a population of about 600,000, has about half as many city employees as the District. But Boston has 776 employees making more than $100,000. Still, city officials there say most of those premium salaries are short term because they are associated with the "Big Dig" project, a 14-year-old highway construction plan to tunnel I-95 under the city.
Several D.C. Council members said they do not object to the high salaries in the District, but aren't convinced that the city is getting enough for its money.
The public school system, which has 51 salaries of $100,000 or more, has come under fire recently from the mayor and the council after a series of news stories detailed mismanagement and problems with bloated payrolls.


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