Numbers for Tax Freedom Day

Friday, April 9th is Tax Freedom Day, when the average American has earned enough to pay Uncle Sam and Uncle Sam’s various relatives what they demand. Ohio is somehow a day ahead of the average, so in honor of the big day tomorrow I thought I’d dig through some salary info for public administrators here in Franklin County. As boring as I am, I ought to make an effort to avoid any talk of numbers or statistics. As stubborn as I am, I won’t!

With employment and the economy in general down for the past year and a half, I wanted to see how the smallest of government big-shots were rewarding themselves relative to 2007 and 2008. Despite widespread populist railing against private industry salaries and bonuses, I expected to see pay increases for the insulated local bureaucrats our tax dollars keep employed. Given some of the things I’ve read recently, I was pleasantly surprised by the data.

A helpful CPA in the Franklin County Auditor’s office responded to my public records request promptly, with salary data on all Franklin County employees from 2007-2010. Download the Excel file if you’d like to check my numbers or do some analysis of your own. I’ll list hourly rates instead of annual salaries, as 2009 contained 27 pay periods instead of the usual 26. Let’s start with the highest branch on the Franklin County tree, shall we?

Commissioner’s Office

Position 2007 Pay 2008 Pay ’08 Raise 2009 Pay ’09 Raise 2010 Pay ’10 Raise
County Administrator $68.17 $72.33 6.10% $74.14 2.50% $74.14 0.00%
Deputy County Administrator $52.88 $56.10 6.09% $57.50 2.49% $57.50 0.00%

Commendably, the two highest-paid administrators in the Commissioner’s office received no pay raises this year. That makes 2008’s 6% increases in their six-figure salaries a little easier to swallow.

Department of Job and Family Services

Job and Family Services (which you’ll notice is under the Commissioner’s office on the county org chart) is more complicated because of new hires, departures, and title changes. I should also note that David Migliore, who was Chief Deputy in the Clerk of Courts office while I was employed there from 2005-2007, is hardly my favorite person. I spent my last 6 months – as a Programmer Analyst 1 doing Programmer Analyst 2 work – waiting to hear back about a pay raise request that Migliore ignored literally until the day I resigned.

Position 2007 Pay 2008 Pay ’08 Raise 2009 Pay ’09 Raise 2010 Pay ’10 Raise
Director (1) $61.77 $65.53 6.09% $62.37 (4.82%) $62.37 0.00%
Assistant Director
(Esther R. Adkins)
$44.64 $47.36 6.09% $48.54 2.49% $48.54 0.00%
Assistant Director (2) N/A $48.78 N/A $45.07 (7.61%) $45.07 0.00%

(1) – Drop in Director’s pay from 2008-2009 reflects a change from Douglas E. Lumpkin to David E. Migliore. I don’t know who decided Migliore should be making around $130,000, but it’s nice that he started at a lower salary than the outgoing Director and didn’t get a raise in 2010.

(2) – In 2008 the Department of Job & Family Services added a new Assistant Director, Anthony S. Trotman. The 2009 data list Trotman as a second Director, salaried at $62.37 – equivalent to a 27.86% raise. Trotman isn’t listed at all for 2010, but the additional Assistant Director position remains.

As I said, this is more complicated than the Commissioner’s Office, where the two highest-paid employees were the same guys with the same titles from 2007-2010. I won’t pretend to understand why a second Assistant Director was added to the Department of Job and Family Services in 2008, but I’ll assume Trotman served as some sort of Interim Director in 2009.

Clerk of Courts

Position 2007 Pay 2008 Pay ’08 Raise 2009 Pay ’09 Raise 2010 Pay ’10 Raise
Chief Deputy (3) $37.48 $40.74 8.69% $42.17 3.51% $45.87 8.77%
David E. Black (4) N/A N/A N/A $24.96 N/A $37.22 49.12%

(3) – In 2008, Maryellen O’Shaughnessy was elected Clerk of Courts. When David Migliore departed for the Department of Job and Family Services, O’Shaughnessy brought in Mary Austin Palmer – and immediately gave her a huge raise in a poor economy. Either Mary Austin Palmer is some kind of management wiz, or Maryellen O’Shaughnessy doesn’t think much of the taxpayers’ money. See (4).

(4) – Yes, I skipped down the list of Clerk’s office employees; this observation is too ridiculous to exclude. In 2007, before he departed for Columbus City Council, Hearcel Craig was paid $25.49 an hour as the Clerk’s Director of Customer Service. The position remained unfilled (to no ill effect, so far as I could tell) until David E. Black was hired. In 2009, Black’s salary as Director of Customer Service was $24.96. In 2010, Black’s title changed to Director of Business Operations and his salary increased by nearly 50%. Why, all of a sudden, is it necessary for the Franklin County Clerk of Courts to employ a Director of Business Operations? Isn’t that what the Chief Deputy is for? How does O’Shaughnessy justify creating a $77,625.60 business operations role while also paying her Chief Deputy $95,409.60?

Skimming through the other Franklin County salary information, it looks like our highly-paid bureaucrats are at least politically intelligent enough not to give themselves raises when unemployment in the Columbus metro area is somewhere between 9 and 10 percent. Except for the Clerk of Courts office, which seems to have suffered from John O’Grady’s move to the Commissioner’s office.

Happy Tax Freedom Day!

[Update: Additional follow-up on the Clerk of Courts available here and here.]