Trump’s Leaner White House Pay­roll Pro­jected To Save Taxpay­ers $22 Mil­lion

ForbesWeekly - - NEWS - BY ADAM ANDRZEJEWSKI, FORBES CON­TRIB­U­TOR

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.

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).

Start­ing in 2015, Pres­i­dent Obama in­sti­tuted a new fel­low­ship—a White House Lead­er­ship Devel­op­ment pro­gram. In the ini­tial class of six­teen can­di­dates, at least one was placed on de­tail (from IRS) at the White House— Elaine Ho—at a salary of $158,700. Ho’s as­sign­ment? Work­ing with the Of­fice of the First Lady to im­ple­ment her “Let Girls Learn” ini­tia­tive. Two “Direc­tors” were also on pay­roll: Pamela Cole­man ($120,000) and Kather­ine Piele­meier ($60,876). We found no ev­i­dence that Trump con­tin­ued these pro­grams.

Two key ad­vi­sors to the pres­i­dent, Gary Cohn and Christo­pher Lid­dell, serve with re­duced salaries of only $30,000—the low­est salaries of all staff. Cohn is the for­mer Pres­i­dent of Gold- man Sachs and cur­rent Director of the White House Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil. Lid­dell is the Director of Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives in the White House and a for­mer Mi­crosoft Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer.

While on the cam­paign trail, Don­ald Trump vowed to forego his pay­check. How­ever, Ar­ti­cle II of the United States Con­sti­tu­tion man­dates a pres­i­den­tial salary. In the first quar­ter, Pres­i­dent Trump do­nated his pay to the Dept. of In­te­rior for con­struc­tion and re­pair needs at mil­i­tary ceme­ter­ies.

Re­fus­ing a salary for work in gov­ern­ment is com­mend­able and the Trump fam­ily is lead­ing by ex­am­ple. Ivanka Trump (First Daugh­ter and Pres­i­den­tial Ad­vi­sor) and Son-in-Law Jared Kush­ner (Se­nior Ad­vi­sor) both re­fused a salary.

At the na­tion’s found­ing, Ben Franklin said, “Dili­gence is the mother of good luck.” Although the White House per­son­nel bud­get is an in­fin­i­tes­i­mal part of the $3.9 tril­lion fed­eral bud­get, it could be a lead­ing in­di­ca­tor of Trump’s com­mit­ment to cut waste, fraud and tax­payer abuse.

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