Monday, September 28, 2009

An army for one...

There's no getting around it, but the "job" of First Lady is important - and necessary. When we elect our presidents, we also - for better or worse - elected their spouses. First Ladies have their own platforms ("soft bully pulpits") from which they can rally the citizenry to any number of causes. Think Jackie Kennedy rehabilitating the White House; Lady Bird Johnson's highway beautification efforts; and Barbara Bush's work on behalf of literacy. Frankly, we owe most First Ladies a debt of gratitude they never ask for - we take their spouses, privacy and lives away for a period of time; they are always open to criticism, fair or unfair; and they don't receive a dime for their troubles.

Still, it is remarkable to see what our newest First Lady has done just since January. "In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much," she's said. "That's why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service." Right now, her cause - health care - doesn't seem all that different from her husband's. Fine. No one said it had to be different, but it seems that this cause is more about politics than it is about service.

Furthermore, it's interesting to see - particularly during this time of "belt-tightening" all over the land - that the First Lady seems to be a tad tone deaf when it comes to her operation. According to the Canada Free, she has hired "an unprecedented number of staffers" to help her carry out her (unassigned) duties as First Lady. Read the list and then decide if it is all necessary or just too much.

(Of course, how much is too much for someone who makes a major production out of a farmers' market shopping trip...?)

Salary Staff Member

1. $172,200 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)

2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)

3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)

4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)

5. $100,000 - Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

6. $90,000 - Medina , David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)

8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)

9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)

10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

11. $64,000 - Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)

13. $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)

14. $57,500 - Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)

15. $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)

16. $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)

17. $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)

18. $43,000 - Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)

19. $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)

21. $35,000 - Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)

22. $35,000 - Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

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