Federal Workers Received Whopping $439 Million In Bonuses Last Year

federal workers pay

Nearly a quarter of a million dollars. That's how much a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee was paid last year under a presidential program that recognizes exceptional performance on the job.

The government worker, a veterinarian, was paid $179,700 in base salary and given a $62,895 "service bonus" for distinguished performance, according to a database recently created to track the salaries of more than 1 million government workers. The well-paid employee was one of three federal workers to receive such a generous bonus, which is equal to 35 percent of base pay, according to the database, developed by the Asbury Park Press of New Jersey (via KUSA).

A review of the data identified more than a hundred workers who received bonuses in excess of $40,000. In total, federal workers were granted $439 million bonuses in 2011 under the program, which began in 1978 and grants bonuses based on two categories of exceptional service.

The top tier, known as "distinguished service," grants a 35 percent bonus to senior executives "who have provided exceptional service to the American people over an extended period of time," according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The program is limited to 1 percent of senior executives, though they may qualify for a second category that grants a 20 percent bonus, and is limited to 5 percent of career employees.

News of the hefty government salaries -- as much as $398,322 for some lucky Veterans Affairs doctors -- outraged some.

"Excessive, far too excessive," taxpayer Gerald Molkenthin told Washington-based TV station KUSA. "No way, no way."

Nonetheless, the Federal Times reports that 2010 saw even more paid out --$482 million in bonuses was paid out that year.

For its part, the White House said that it's taken steps to reduce the amount in bonuses that federal workers are paid.

"The administration eliminated bonuses for all political appointees, directed agencies to adopt more rigorous personnel management processes, and set a cap to reduce spending on awards for career staff," White House Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Moira Mack told KUSA.

Analysis of federal workers salaries and bonuses showed that the Department of Veterans Affairs had the largest amount -- $67.9 million. The agency also employed 99 of the 100 top-paid federal workers, most of whom are physicians.

The database, known as DataUniverse.com, covers about 70 percent of federal workers, and doesn't include those employed by the White House, Defense Department, Congress and a handful of other agencies.







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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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gregnizio

wow thats gonna help our national debt. yet we are cutting unemployment and social aid. THIS IS DISGUSTING

June 04 2012 at 3:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bzh484

The old excuse for giving bonus is we will lose the employee.
When has the government ever lost something when a government employee left.
Let them go and find better paying jobs that are not connected with the govrernment.

May 17 2012 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dewayne

By all means, don't include White House and Congressional workers, are they afraid including these would put the bonuses to over $1,000,000.00 per year.

May 17 2012 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dewayne's comment
gregnizio

try a couple billion if not more

June 04 2012 at 3:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank

Why the problem paying doctors who take care of our veterans?

May 17 2012 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wilkesgm

In case you haven't noticed, the goal is to make Americans hate private enterprise while building the government to such a size that it consumes us. The proof? They hate CEO's who run private corporations. They love people like Oprah Winfrey who made over 300 million last year. Beyonce? 80 million. Dr. Phil - 40 million...twice the average salary of a CEO running a business with thousands of employees. So, drive the best and the brighest away while lauding the most popular and least necessary to the salvation of the country. All hail food-stamps.

May 17 2012 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wilkesgm's comment
gregnizio

they r cutting food stamps too dude. robbing everyone except 1 percent

June 04 2012 at 3:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
krazzicraig

The average salary for a doctor in the VA system is $180,000 . They have no insurance bills . They have no office help to pay for . They have no cost of an office .They have no staff costs . They work a 8 hour shift in most cases . Some that worl out of clinic, their hours are from 8 to 5. If they are part of the system for more then 5 years ,they are entiled to a pension. The VA may not pay a much as if they work for themself , But they have far few issue to deal with .

May 17 2012 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich

It's interesting that the highest salaries and bulk of bonuses went to physicians working for the Department of Veterans Affaires. Something tells me most of these physicians could make more in the private sector, but eveyone will complain that since they are employed by the govenment, they are overpaid.

May 17 2012 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rich's comment
gregnizio

they are also trained by the govt and their schooling is paid for by govt. im thinking med school 100,000 minium dude they are overpaid.

June 04 2012 at 3:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HBSSL

Duh - Is that being paid with payroll and income tax or china money. The federal government is the problem with the country. It will only get worse as our leaders continue to ignore the constitution. Oh by the way, congratulations on the bonus. You really deserve it along with tax payer funded health care and pensions. This country is becoming useless of any good things

May 17 2012 at 12:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
anthdif

And we talk about private enterprise and corporate CEO's bonus plans. When viewed in proportion to base salary, in my entire life, running companies, turning a 20 million dollar loss of one company into a profit, I have never been paid bonus at that percentage of base salary. With a government running a 16 trillion dollar debt, is the Obama administration insane? Yes!!

May 17 2012 at 11:59 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Thamra

What happen to your salary period. Now companies,schools,government pay out huge bonuses to a select few. No wonder the schools,government and companies are going broke. Its called greed and corruption people and it needs to be stopped because in most cases its our taxes that pay for it or higher cost for items in the store. I know a few people retired like me that worked for the government and receive 100,000 pretty much the salary when they were working. Tell me what private company pays that out to retired employees. None that I know of unless it may be the CEO. Many of us are struggling on 15,000 + or -. There is something very wrong with this picture and its nothing more than greed and corruption within our government.

May 17 2012 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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