82 Percent of Montgomery County’s 50 Highest Paid Employees are Men
Bethesda Beat analysis finds only one woman in the top 10
Four out of five of the highest 50 paid Montgomery County employees are men.
A Bethesda Beat analysis using publicly available data from the county’s website shows that 41 of the 50 highest paid county employees in 2014 are men.
The data do not include the salaries of Montgomery County Public Schools employees. The school system doesn’t post its salary data on the county’s data website.
More than half—27 of the 50 highest paid employees—work for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services. Just two of those 27 MCFRS employees are women. The department is mostly composed of male employees—94 percent are men and 6 percent are women, according to the county. The ratio of female to male firefighters in the county is actually slightly higher than the national average of 3.7 percent female firefighters per department, according to a 2013 report by the National Fire Protection Association.
Ohene Gyapong, the deputy director of the county’s office of public information, said several factors go into fire department employees’ pay, including training, overtime and coverage of special events.
The 27 firefighters who made the top 50 were paid a total of $1.98 million in overtime, or about $73,400 per employee.
Only one woman—Uma Ahulwalia, the director of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services—broke the top 10 highest paid county employees. She was seventh on the list, earning a total of $224,196 in 2014.
The other women in the top 50 include:
- Jennifer Hughes, director of the Office of Management and Budget- $212,930 – #13
- Melanie Wenger, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, $209,166 – #16
- Betty Parker Hamilton, director of the Department of Public Libraries, $207,305 – #18
- Diane Schwartz Jones, director of the Department of Permitting Services, $206,791 – #21
- Kathy Regan, Emergency Communications Center (MCFRS), $206,361 – #23
- Lidia Carnota-Cohen, Adult Behavioral Health Services, psychiatrist (HHS), $185,807 – #45
- Debra Vaughn, 24 Hour Crisis Center (HHS), $185,523 – #46
Women are making their way into leadership positions in the county at a higher rate. Eleven women head up county departments compared to 16 men, according to Gyapong.
Pay ratios have been a focus of county officials recently. Last year, County Executive Ike Leggett proposed a bill as part of an effort to monitor that contractors for the county pay men and women equally. The bill would force county contractors to report employee pay summaries to the county and prohibit a county contractor from retaliating against its employees who disclose salary information. The County Council is scheduled to take action on the bill on Tuesday.
Leggett wrote in a memo to the council that the effort is designed to gather accurate information about compensation. “President [Barack] Obama recently recognized the lack of equality in pay between men and women in the workforce, with women consistently receiving less than men. Without current and accurate data to trace compensation based upon race and gender, the root that causes this disparity is difficult to trace,” Leggett wrote.
A Census Bureau report published in 2008 and recently cited by The White House as part of Obama’s efforts to decrease the pay gap between men and women found that women’s annual earnings were about 77.5 percent that of men’s. In Montgomery County, employed women on average make about 71 cents per dollar made by employed men, according to census statistics.