Looking for a job? Would you like to make the more than the Governor, but without all of that attention and scrutiny? Sound Transit is hiring an “Executive Director, Communications and External Affairs” (bureaucratic-speak for “Communications Director”) and the job pays handsomely—as much as $170,500 per year!
Let me interject that here at Shift, our goal is for government to work well. This requires hiring competent people who can manage large organizations and large budgets. But let’s put Sound Transit’s “$136,000 to $170,500” salary range for their new communications director into context:
In 2012, the Governor’s salary was set at $161,892, while the Lieutenant Governor’s was “only” $93,948. Meanwhile, their respective communications directors made $127,290 and $75,776. As far as local government goes, the communications director for the state’s largest county (King) earned $128,581, and the “director of public affairs” for the state’s largest city (Seattle) earned $116,781. Within the transit industry, the WSDOT Communications Director was paid $112,179, Pierce Transit’s public information officer was paid $116,223, and Metro doesn’t even have a full-time PR flak.
Thus, even at the low end ($136,000) of the salary range ST’s new hire would still make more than every other agency communications head here in Washington. And at the high end, the successful applicant would make more than even the governor himself. Though in the end, I suppose attempting to spin an agency that doesn’t want to charge riders, suffers from abysmal ridership, faces sky-high costs, and ignores the public is a difficult job.
 For the sake of consistency (and because 2013 isn’t over yet) all salaries reported here are from 2012. Public employee salaries are public records, and most agencies’ salaries have been posted online by The News Tribune. See, e.g., http://www.thenewstribune.com/wa-state-salaries.