To some it may come as no surprise that America's highest paid government workers are not teachers, nurses, or sanitation workers. However, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center for Media and Democracy, the highest paid "government workers" are not even employees of the federal government.
As CMD explains in EXPOSED: America's Highest Paid Government Workers, a group of private corporate executives across the country have increasingly pushed for the privatization of public services while maneuvering high-paying contracts with the government "and then pay themselves and other executives eye-popping salaries."
Included in the report are people like private prison CEO of the GEO Group George Zoley, who made $22 million between 2008 and 2012.
GEO Group makes 86 percent of its revenue from taxpayers. CMD reports:
GEO Group writes language into private prison contracts that forces taxpayers to keep prisons full or else pay for empty beds. GEO Group has faced hundreds of lawsuits over prisoner deaths, assaults, excessive force, and more, which have led to secret court settlements.
Another exorbitantly paid "government worker" highlighted in the report is Jeffry Sterba, president and CEO of American Water Works Company, the largest private provider of water and wastewater services in the US. Sterba has made $8.3 million in the three years he has spent as top executive.
"American Water is a major force behind the privatization of water services and came under fire from communities across the country for charging high rates and providing poor services," the report states.
These high-payed privatized service providers are involved in the fields of education, corrections, waste management, water treatment, transportation and social services.
"These and other 'government workers' who head big firms that take over public assets or contract for services make billions off of taxpayers, but are not accountable to taxpayers for their enormous salaries being subsidized at public expense," CMD reports.
The report highlights the ways in which these corporations often "muddy accountability, and cut corners when it comes to public health and safety."
"Given these astronomical salaries, and evidence of higher prices, poor service, and at times outright malfeasance, taxpayers have every right to be concerned about how their outsourced dollars are spent," said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of CMD.