Women take their place among top paid

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Nine years ago, women couldn't make the top 40 in Augusta government. The 40 highest-paid jobs were all filled by men.

Today, nine women are in the top 40, and the top wage earners of both genders are taking home significantly fatter paychecks than ever before, according to city payroll records.

In 1999, then-City Administrator Randy Oliver was making $99,640 a year. Today, Administrator Fred Russell's salary is $136,820 and the annual pay of other top-paid city employees also has increased substantially. But, according to data in the 2008 Georgia Department of Community Affairs Local Government Wage and Salary Survey, Augusta's salaries are in line with those in other cities of comparable size.

For example, the annual salary for the city administrator in Columbus-Muscogee County ranges from $114,395 to $177,546, while the average salary for county managers in Augusta's category ranges from $130,695 to $150,678, according to the survey.

Women employees in Augusta government have made strides in narrowing the annual pay disparity gap by 43 percent, to $3,036 from $5,325 nine years ago.

In 1999, an analysis by The Augusta Chronicle of salaries of full-time employees showed the median annual salary for women at $23,568. Today, it is $31,355. The analysis also showed the median pay for men that year was $28,893. Today, it is $34,392.

Augusta has 83 women earning $50,000 or more a year now, compared with 221 men.

Pay for women in the higher-pay categories has probably improved, but women midway on the pay scale and lower might not be doing as well, the city's Equal Opportunity Office director Diana Darris said.

"We know some women have been moved up into higher-ranking offices, and that's positive," she said. "What's happened with these mid- and lower-ranking job categories is what we need to take a hard look at, especially in areas like the fire department where we're doing a huge recruitment initiative for women."

Ms. Darris is still gathering data for the city's first affirmative-action plan, which will focus on women and minorities, a requirement the federal government places on entities with federal contracts, such as Augusta.

The city has a $202 million contract with the Department of Defense to provide water to Fort Gordon. The city's transit department and Augusta Regional Airport also receive federal money.

Consequently, the city is required to have an affirmative-action plan that reflects it is providing equal opportunities, especially for minorities and women.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

TOP 40 IN AUGUSTA

Hamrick, Gayle B. , Judge, State Court, $142,420.46 now; $98,000.24 in 1999

Booker, Patricia W. , Judge, State Court, $138,820.50 now; $90,000.04 in 1999

Slaby, Richard A. , Judge, State Court, $138,820.50

Watkins, David D. , Judge, State Court, $138,820.50

Russell, Frederick L. , Administrator, $136,359.35

Swint Gary, Director, Library, State Paid, $128,740.56

Johnson, Chiquita T. , General Counsel, $125,000.20

Strength, Ronald H. , Sheriff, $120,071.90

Jennings III, William D. , Judge, Civil Court, $118,594.32

Allen, Henry S., Associate Judge, Civil Court, $116,706.72

Ladson, Abie Leverne , Engineering Director, $115,566.02

Allen, Tameka N., Deputy Administrator, $114,164.73

Williams, Donna B. , Finance Director, $113,300.02

Sherrouse, Dayton L. , Director, Canal Authority, $112,520.45

Jolles, Isaac S. , Probate Judge, $104,999.96

Wheeler III, Chester A. , Housing Director II, $102,433.50

Hicks, Calvin Coolidge , Chief Tax Appraiser, $102,433.50

Willis, Howard L. , Fire Chief, $101,383.33

Johnson, Elaine C. , Clerk of Superior Court, $99,909.68

Jones II, Harold V. , Solicitor General, $96,999.76

Strange, Tammy Rose, Airport Director I, $96,415.80

McAdams, John A. , Assistant Director, Tax Commission, $96,157.10

Greene, Michael D. , Director, Public Services, $95,216.41

Leverett, Robert , Deputy Administrator and RCCI Warden, $94,398.29

Johnson, Mark Brennan , Director, Solid Waste, $91,526.37

Goins, Clifford A. , Director 1, Utilities, $91,507

Hatfield, Sidney E. , Chief Deputy, Sheriff's Office, $90,721.56

Brown, Wayne , Staff Attorney 1, $90,223.12

MacKenzie, Andrew G., Staff Attorney 1, $89,826.28

Jones, Stephanie Karlett , Staff Attorney III, $89,609.78

Stallings Jr., Fred , Tax Commissioner (interim), $88,000.12

Blanchard, Michael F. , Director II, Information Technology, $87,528.48

Beck Jr., Tom F. , Recreation Director, $86,554.44

Powell, Gary A., Colonel, Sheriff's Office, $85,817.92

Johnson, Nancy Jayne , Assistant Solicitor, State Court, $84,734.63

Cassell, Steven J. , Assistant Director, Traffic Engineering, $84,047.92

Fashion, Mashell Yvonne , Assistant Director, Library, State Paid, $82.898.14

Campanaro, Portland Jaye , Chief Assistant Solicitor, $82,064.06

Johnson, W.E. , Major, Sheriff's Office, $81,646.50

Wilhelm, Edward J. , Major, Sheriff's Office, $81,626.07

Salaries from:

City of Savannah:

City Manager $183,600

Finance Director $111,482

Public Works Bureau Director $114,583

Water & Sewer Bureau Director $129,067

Recreation Services Director $83,959

Columbus-Muscogee County

City Administrator or Manager $123,190

Finance Director $82,984

Chief Judge of State Court $148,129

Sheriff $97,454

Chief Tax Appraiser $71,557

Public Works (or Services) Director $73,346

Utilities Director N/A

Recreation Director $73,346

Sources: Human Resources departments in Savannah and Columbus-Muscogee

WHO'S NO. 1?

State Court Judge Gayle B. Hamrick is the highest paid person in Augusta government making $142,420 a year.

Judges had four of the top five spots on the list.

Comments (11) Add comment
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g-dog express
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g-dog express 10/20/08 - 09:09 am
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No wonder our taxes are so

No wonder our taxes are so high!!!!!!!

justus4
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justus4 10/20/08 - 09:19 am
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Affirmative Action
Unpublished

Affirmative Action legislation was designed to make up for past discrimination against African-Americans, however, white women has been the primary beneficiary of such laws. That fact is profound given the original intent, and they call this progress. It really bait & switch.

karmakills123
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karmakills123 10/20/08 - 10:11 am
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justass your "po us attitude"

justass your "po us attitude" is just plain old wrong and getting a bit stale...

rufus
2
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rufus 10/20/08 - 10:36 am
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Where's my check?

Where's my check?

426Hemi
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426Hemi 10/20/08 - 12:38 pm
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Yaz, the white B has beed the

Yaz, the white B has beed the recipient. And, black men is be the primary beneficiary of sports contracts. I want a piece of that pie when BO gets in office!!! If, he makes it.

426Hemi
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426Hemi 10/20/08 - 12:41 pm
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j4, why don't you just grovel

j4, why don't you just grovel to the highest paid BLACK woman; Ms. O Winfrey. She has plenty to throw around in Africa, and you're just a sidedish in the big scheme. Hell, with the change in her pocket, you could get off welfare and live like some of those benefit-stealing white women. There, see hoiw easy that was. You know how to correspond?

disssman
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disssman 10/20/08 - 01:16 pm
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If we had a budget that was

If we had a budget that was broken down by expense, and posted on the city web for the citizens to see, we could really see who is feeding off the public trough.

lowellbrown
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lowellbrown 10/20/08 - 03:08 pm
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On yesterday's editorial

On yesterday's editorial page, the Chronicle implied that people earning $225.000 a year are not rich. By extension, the public servants listed in this article are downright poor, and some of us old geezers on pensions are living in abject poverty. Rich or poor, however, by and large these people actually EARN their pay.

dont live there anymore
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dont live there anymore 10/20/08 - 03:40 pm
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Lowell Brown is right that

Lowell Brown is right that the people (women and men) earning higher pay actually earn every cent. They have sought higher education which is costly and hard work, they have competed for the positions they hold, and they work hard whether in the City, County, or State employment. None of them are "handed" the job and they do not need to share their wealth. They pay taxes, too.

disssman
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disssman 10/21/08 - 09:15 am
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I am now sure that women will

I am now sure that women will demand equality and insist on being included in the draft registration. They should follow this with a demand to be allowed to serve in all areas of the military, including the Infantry, and be assigned to front line duty in Iraq!! Only then will they be trully equal.

Talkatoast
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Talkatoast 10/21/08 - 12:28 pm
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disssman--Are you another

disssman--Are you another misogynist? Women actually had to work hard for years to get this far, and here you are demonizing them simply because they're finally starting to receive the upperhand in the work world. Or, perhaps men have gotten lazy because they don't realize their fellow other gender are finally climbing that ladder?

Talkatoast
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Talkatoast 10/21/08 - 12:29 pm
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However, I do not feel that

However, I do not feel that we need to go around recruiting women for any job. We need to recruit people with skill. I think that people need to stop analyzing why women choose lower-paying jobs and just accept it as it is. It's the feminists that have portrayed the image that women HAVE to work high-paying jobs.

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