A Unique Source of
about Federal Administrators
Not counting the uniformed men and women serving in the military, slightly more than 1.7 million individuals are currently working in the executive branch of the federal government.
They work for a wide range of agencies -- like the Social Security Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Interior Department and the IRS -- all over the country and, in a relatively small number of cases, abroad. Their average salary in FY 2001 was $53,535.
As in all organizations, a relatively small number of these 1.7 million employees -- through their training, experience and inherent skills -- have come to exercise discretionary powers over the operation of the agencies. As a general rule these individuals are paid more than their colleagues.
In any open government like the United States, the names and salaries of almost all government officials must be a matter of public record. But this fact does not necessarily mean that providing an instant look up mechanism to determine the annual salary of all of them is good policy. Common sense tells us that the mechanic working in a Park Service motor pool in Montana or the bookkeeper maintaining the pay records of the regional Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Chicago play very different roles than the chief planning officer for one of the EPA’s regions or a senior public affairs officer for the Veterans Administration.
Given these various considerations, this tool provides a quick way for determining the salary of Secretary of State Colin Powell or Attorney General John Ashcroft and all other federal officials whose annual salaries are $100,000 or higher.
A special note. For a variety of reasons, a search for information about a particular individual may not be successful. For example, employees of the judicial and legislative branches are by definition not available. (See coverage.) Under the law, the employees of the CIA -- an executive branch agency -- are secret. And although the Postal Service is often thought of as an executive branch agency, it is not.