by Adam Andrzejewski, Forbes Contributor Forbes.com
I cover the “daily greed” of national, state, and local politics.
President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, walk on the South Lawn as they leave the White House in Washington, Friday, June 30, 2017. The President and First Lady are leading a leaner White House payroll with projected taxpayer savings of $22 million. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
If the White House payroll is a leading indicator of the president’s commitment to shrink government then voters have a reason to cheer. Projected four-year savings on the White House payroll could top $22 million. Savings come from President Trump’s refusal to take a salary as well as big reductions in other areas including the absence of czars, expensive “fellowships,” and spending on FLOTUS staff.
On Friday, the Trump administration released their annual report to Congress on White House Office Personnel. It includes the name, status, salary and position title of all 377 White House employees. (Search the recent Trump administration payroll data – and last two-years of the Obama administration - posted at OpenTheBooks.com.)
Here are some key findings:
There are 110 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.
$5.1 million in payroll savings vs. the Obama FY2015 payroll. In 2017, the Trump payroll amounts to $35.8 million for 377 employees, while the Obama payroll amounted to $40.9 million for 476 employees (FY2015).
Nineteen fewer staffers are dedicated to The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). Currently, there are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).
Counts of the “Assistants to the President” – the most trusted advisors to the president - are the same (22) in both first-year Trump and Obama administrations. In the Trump White House, Steven Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Omarosa Manigault, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and 17 others make salaries of $179,700. In Obama’s first-year, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and twenty others held the title with top pay of $172,000.
The highest compensated White House Trump staffer? Mark House, Senior Policy Advisor, has a salary of $187,500. Mr. House is “on detail” from a federal agency which allows him to exceed the top pay-grade of $179,700. In Obama’s Administration (2009), David Marcozzi earned $193,000 “on detail” from Health and Human Services.
Our review of the Trump White House payroll confirms five staffers dedicated to First Lady Melania Trump. Highly criticized for her twenty-four assistants, advisors, schedulers, directors, deputies, advance aides, associates, social and press secretaries and other helpers, former First Lady Michelle Obama’s staff was only slightly larger than Laura Bush’s staff of eighteen.
These five White House employees serving First Lady Melania Trump include:
Lindsay Reynolds, Chief of Staff to the First Lady ($179,700);
Stephanie Grisham, Director of Communications for the First Lady ($115,000);
Anna Niceta, Social Secretary ($115,000)
Timothy Tripepi, Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations for the First Lady ($115,000);
Mary-Kathryn Fisher, Deputy Director of Advance for the First Lady ($77,000).
Starting in 2009, President Obama came under fire for hiring special initiative czars. We found no evidence of “czars” on Trump’s payroll. Examples of these White House czars included Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner ($172,000), Director of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois ($98,000), White House Director of Urban Affairs Adolfo Carrion Jr ($158,500), and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle ($158,500). READ it HERE