Gov.-Elect Gretchen Whitmer speaks to the Free Press
Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press
LANSING – Salaries paid to members of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s cabinet range from $159,800 to $216,240, and closely mirror the salaries former Gov. Rick Snyder paid to cabinet members who did the same job in his administration, records obtained by the Free Press show.
The highest-paid member of Whitmer’s cabinet, according to records released by the governor’s office, is the interim superintendent of the State Board of Education, Sheila Alles. She has a salary of $216,240 while the board searches for a superintendent to replace Brian Whiston, who died last year after holding the post since 2015.
Alles, who has held the post since May, had the same salary under Snyder as of December, according to figures released by the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
The education superintendent’s salary is not typical because it is set by the State Board of Education, which hires the superintendent, not the governor.
Other Whitmer cabinet salaries are:
- Brig. Gen. Paul Walters, director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs: $175,507. That’s slightly below the $180,089 salary Snyder paid his military and veterans director, Major Gen. Gregory Vadnais.
- Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon: $175,000. That’s the same amount Snyder paid his director of that department, Nick Lyon.
- Corrections Department Director Heidi Washington: $175,000. Washington is a holdover from the Snyder administration, having held the post since 2015. She was paid the same amount under Snyder.
- Treasurer Rachael Eubanks: $174,204. Snyder paid the same amount to former Treasurer Nick Khouri.
- Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell: $165,000. That’s $5,000 more than Snyder paid his agriculture director, Gordon Wenk, records show.
- Department of Technology, Management and Budget Director Tricia Foster: $165,000. That’s $15,000 less than Snyder’s DTMB director, David DeVries, was paid. But DeVries also served as Michigan’s chief information officer, which Foster will not.
- Michigan Department of Transportation Director Paul Ajegba: $165,000. That’s $5,000 more than Snyder paid his MDOT director, Mark Van Port Fleet.
- Department of Environmental Quality Director Liesl Eichler Clark: $165,000. That’s the same amount Snyder paid his DEQ director, Heidi Grether.
- Department of Natural Resources Director Daniel Eichinger: $165,000. That’s the same amount Snyder paid his DNR director, Keith Creagh.
- Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox: $165,000. Snyder paid the same amount to his department director, Patrick McPharlin.
- Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Orlene Hawks: $165,000. Snyder paid the same amount to his LARA director, Shelly Edgerton.
- Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper: $165,000. That’s the same amount Snyder paid his MSP director, Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue.
- Budget Director Chris Kolb: $165,000. That’s the same amount Snyder paid his budget director, John Walsh.
- Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu: $159,800. Another holdover from the Snyder administration, Arbulu was paid the same amount under the former governor. The civil rights director’s salary is set by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, not the governor.
Whitmer spokesman Tiffany Brown said it’s common for salaries for many cabinet posts to remain fairly consistent from one administration to the next. She said in selecting the cabinet, the primary focus wasn’t on how much each agency director was paid.
“The governor’s focus was on assembling a strong, diverse, and talented team of dedicated public servants to lead state departments,” Brown said.
The governor is paid $159,300, plus a $54,000 expense allowance.
Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.