One of the great things about the stimulus bill, or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is that it requires the recipients and sub-recipients of federal funds to report the names and compensation levels of their top five officials. This provision is now helping to lift the curtain on the secretive world of contractors who run the labs that make up the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.
Last week, John Fleck reported in the Albuquerque Journal that Sandia National Laboratories Director Tom Hunter makes a whopping $1.7 million per year, and that Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Director Michael Anastasio makes $800,348 per year. As Dan Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center pointed out, this means that Hunter makes four times as much as the President of the United States, and that Anastasio makes twice as much.
We found Sandia’s defense of the high salaries quite laughable. “They are making complex decisions that are actually affecting the security of the United States,” Sandia spokesman Neal Singer said. “They’re paid for the difficult decisions they make.” Unlike the President??
A disclaimer: a Department of Energy contracting regulation caps the taxpayer-funded portion of the executives’ annual compensation at $684,000. This is still nearly $300,000 more than the President’s salary.
-- Ingrid Drake
UPDATE: NNSA contacted POGO to say that it reimbursed the lab directors at far less than the $684,181 cap, and provided these figures for the amounts that the Department of Energy contributes to certain lab directors salaries (with the rest coming from the private companies that share in the management of the labs): LANL's Michael Anastasio, $397,341; Lawrence Livermore National Lab's George Miller, $348,400; and Sandia's Tom Hunter, $366,119.