When Mayor-elect Ed Murray announced new staffers last week, one thing stood out: These new hires will be making a lot of money. And not just compared to a bunch of dropouts-turned-reporters working for an alternative weekly, either. Virtually all of his senior staff and new department heads will make substantially more than the comparable people they replace in the McGinn administration.
On average, Murray's executive staff (deputy mayors, budget director, and communications director) will make $29,000 more per year than those holding equivalent positions under Mayor Mike McGinn. It's an average of 21 percent more a year based on current salaries.
Murray's two deputy mayors will each make $170,000 a year, while the current one, Darryl Smith, earns just over $129,000. New budget director Ben Noble, coming to the mayor's office from the city council's central staff? He'll also make $170,000, even though outgoing budget genius Beth Goldberg made $152,584 this year. Boosts in salaries continue down the ranks. For example, the city's Office for Civil Rights director, Julie Nelson, doesn't quite make $113,000 a year, but her replacement, Patricia Lally, will draw a salary of $151,000—almost $40,000 more.
This has started some fun new memes among journalists and political nerds (aside from the obvious "Why didn't we go into politics, because holy shit is that a lot of money"). One, pushed by the Seattle Times, is that McGinn hired inexperienced people, while Murray's better picks simply deserve more.