WJBF Investigates: The highest paid local officials and employees

Whether it’s a city or a county, your local government has dozens of officials who make a salary off your tax money.

So who is making the most and who is making the least.

“The sheriff,” one citizen said.

“For a city or a county I would assume it would be the mayor, but you know, I don’t know about salaries much for each individual commissioner,” another person said.

“I would say the mayor because he’s pretty much in charge of the city and he has more control,” a woman said.

WJBF NewsChannel 6 looked at salaries in Aiken, North Augusta, Aiken County, Columbia County and Augusta-Richmond County.

So who is taking home the most?

In Aiken, it’s City Manager John Klimm with $138,548 a year, then City Clerk Sara Ridout with $109,824, and in third, Finance Director Kimberly Abney with $102,772.

In North Augusta, City Administrator Todd Glover makes the most with $123,504, then Director of Public Services James Sutton with $105,906, next is Director of Engineering Thomas Zeaser with $102,107..

Administrators seem to make the most, as in Aiken County, Clay Killian makes $138,811, after him, it’s County Attorney James Holly with $130,000, then Master-in-Equity M.A. Griffith with $113,083.

Across the river in Columbia County, another administrator, Scott Johnson with $155,000 a year, second is Sheriff Clay Whittle with $148,114, and then there’s Clerk of Court Cynthia Mason with $137,269.

Now to Augusta where the big money is. City Administrator Janice Jackson makes the most in the CSRA with $170,000 a year, State Court Judge Richard Slaby with $160,984, and then Airport Director Herbert Judon with $160,000.

So who is taking home the smallest full-time paycheck?

“Pretty much across the board, teachers, firemen and cops have been underpaid for the last 30 years or so, and their wages have not been going up so I usually look to them first,” one citizen said.

Across all five governments, custodians, recycling attendants, drivers, clerks, assistants, maintenance workers, and sanitation workers all make the least with salaries starting at $17,000 a year to $22,000 a year.

For some, the salary differences are a sign of income inequality in our local governments.

“The people who really work work are getting the least money,” one woman responded.

For others, it’s just American capitalism.

For a look at the top local salaries, go to: Top Local Salaries Document

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