Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Help wanted at the Obama White House

WASHINGTON (CNN) – An epidemic of layoffs is plaguing the country, but the Help Wanted sign is out in Washington: President-elect Obama's new administration needs to fill 7,996 positions according to the Plum Book, the quadrennial list of jobs filled by presidential appointment.

The Plum Book also lists the pay schedules for each presidential appointment. According to the book, a member of Obama's cabinet can make as much as $191,300.

But there are numerous positions whose salaries are not listed in the Plum Book, such as the president's chief of staff and press secretary, where the pay is at the administration's discretion, and can be much higher.

No administration official or presidential appointee can make more the president, who currently earns $400,000 a year.

The "Plum Book" — the name comes from the color of its cover — is published every four years immediately following the presidential election. The book was first released in 1952, when — after 22 years of a Democratically-controlled White House — Republican President Dwight Eisenhower's administration needed to identify what government jobs they could fill. The Plum Book was again produced in 1960 for the Kennedy administration, and has been published every four years since.

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