The Govertment Springboard
Pity not the altruistic souls who toil for peanuts (compared to top jobs in the private sector) working in local government. The best of the punch are able to jump from these posts to top-paying positions elsewhere.
The Sunshine Jump
Once Mayor Mike White's chief of staff, Zimomra now enjoys the sunshine and nice salary found as city manager of Sanibel Island, Fla. Her base is $165,000, and her benefits include a yearly $26,000 housing allowance (the average home on Sanibel costs $649,000). But island life has its challenges. The eye of Hurricane Charley just missed the island (her own home suffered $86,000 worth of damage). A woman's body was found near the lighthouse last year the island's first murder in more than 20 years. And there were two fatalities from alligator attacks in 2006, leading to a highly publicized gator slaughter.
1983: about $25,000
Abbott started his career as a reporter, but says he quickly grew tired of just observing. He wanted to take sides on issues and work for change. So he went to law school. But instead of going after a big paycheck, he took a job working as an executive assistant in county government. He is now the executive director of The George Gund Foundation.
Chris and Natalie Ronayne
The Tandem Jump
1996: $99,400 combined
Now: About $300,000 combined
Both Natalie and Chris Ronayne earned reputations as being passionate, hard workers at their first jobs. But Chris didn't earn a whole lot of cash, working in the county planning department for $22,400. Natalie's first job for the city, on the other hand, earned her $70,000. All that changed when each made the leap from City Hall to University Circle. Chris, the president of University Circle Inc., makes $150,000. Natalie, recently named the executive director of Cleveland Botanical Garden, was still in salary negotiations as of press time, but it's a fair bet that she too will earn around $150,000 (her predecessor made $167,000 in 2004). The Government Springboard Pity not the altruistic souls who toil for peanuts (compared to top jobs in the private sector) working in local government. The best of the bunch are able to jump from those posts to top-paying positions elsewhere.