Salaries in O'Malley's office
A number of people have commented on yesterday's post about furloughs that first thing, O'Malley should cut the salary increases he gave to his staff when he took over for Ehrlich. Some of his department heads make significantly more than their predecessors did during the Ehrlich administration. It's the price of getting top talent, O'Malley says (and peanuts in the grand scheme of the state's budget problems), but the symbolism isn't good. (Kinda like how paying GM's CEO a dollar a year wouldn't do much to fix the company's problems, but it sure makes people feel better to know they aren't sacrificing to pay that guy a huge salary.)
It'll take a little while to compile all the figures for cabinet heads and such, but a pretty simple comparison of the budgets for the governor's office itself shows O'Malley is spending more there than his predecessor did. In his final budget, Ehrlich spent $7,827,872 on salaries and benefits for 80 employees in his office. This year, O'Malley budgeted $8,397,992 for salaries and benefits for 87.5 employees. (We won't know until well after the end of the fiscal year how much will actually get spent, but that's what O'Malley proposed in the fiscal 2009 budget, so it's a reasonably fair comparison.)
O'Malley's salary of $150,000 is set by law and is the same amount Ehrlich earned. Same goes for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's pay of $125,000, which is unchanged since the days of Michael Steele. And Ehrlich paid his chief of staff, Chip DiPaula, $198,117, according to budget documents, wherease O"Malley's top aide, Michael Enright, is pulling down $150,000.
After that, it's a little difficult to make person-to-person comparisons. Ehlich's communications guys (Paul Schurick and Greg Massoni) made way more money than Rick Abbruzzese does, but the structure of that and other offices is a little different than it was then, so it's probably best to look at the overall figures.
In his last budget, Ehrlich had 77 aides, administrators and managers in his office, pulling down a total of $5,195,616 in salary. O'Malley's most recent budget calls for 84.5 employees making a total of $6,133,483.
Overall, O'Malley budgeted for payroll in the governor's office of 15.7 percent more than it was in the last year of the Ehrlich administration.
It's interesting to note that salaries and benefits in the governor's office actually went down slightly in O'Malley's first year, but they jumped up quite a bit in the governor's proposal last January. (Right after the special session with the tax increases and budget cuts in various agencies.)