Loose Lips

Washingtonian: Right One-Third of the Time!

Washingtonian Overestimates Adrian Fenty's PayIt's not just bad form to make fun of another journalist's mistakes, it's bad luck. With this blog post, LL has practically guaranteed that he'll be making a giant, embarrassing error in the near future (possibly even in this very item!). But form and luck be damned—Washingtonian needs a good thumpin' for some whoppers in its annual salary issue, particularly when it comes to D.C. officials. (The issue dropped last month, but LL is still getting his mail screened for anthrax and didn't get a copy until recently.)

On the first page of its salary info, the mag has a big picture of Still Mayor Adrian Fenty and lists his salary at $138,200. That's more than $60,000 off the mark. Where they came up with that number, LL hasn't a clue. The D.C. Council approved increasing the mayor's salary to $200,000 a year in 2006. But the previous level was $152,000, not $138,200. And at any rate, that means Fenty's been making $200,000 his whole four-year term.

Also wrong: Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier's salary. Washingtonian says she makes $175,000 a year. That's what Lanier made in 2007, but as a WTOP story from yesterday shows, it's way off her current pay.

Who else? How about outgoing Fire Chief Dennis Rubin. The mag says he makes $165,000; city records show he makes $187,000 a year.

Washingtonian also has a picture of former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and lists her salary at $275,000. That's what her base salary was when she started in 2007, but her old contract also called for yearly cost of living adjustments and a potential bonus. LL doesn't know what that shook out to at the time of her departure, but LL is pretty sure it's more than $275,000.

The magazine did manage to get salaries right for City Administrator Neil Albert ($225,000) and members of the D.C. Council ($125,583). So for those of you counting at home, that's a 33.3 percent success rate for D.C. officials.

LL also noticed that the magazine put up a picture of outgoing Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Jerry Weast and pegged his salary at $216,792. The Post said Weast's annual compensation package was worth $500,000 last year. So technically, Weast's listed salary might be correct, but based on the other errors, LL doubts it.

FishbowlDC also noted that Washingtonian totally overshot its salary info for Post reporters. By a lot. (Salaries for Washington City Paper reporters weren't listed in the magazine, probably because Washingtonian guessed, correctly, that they're too low to bother with.)

Add it all up and you've got an awful lot of mistakes on what should be a pretty simple exercise. Tsk, tsk, Washingtonian!

LL has a call into the magazine's editors for a comment, and will update as necessary. But for now, LL would recommend not getting too bent out of shape if you spotted a salary on their list that you thought was unfair. Odds are, it's probably wrong.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Wasup

    Neil Albert makes $225,000.00 a year for louching around and posing? Outrageous! That, while block, after block, after block neighborhoods suffer the indignity of not having a single banner.

  • Louise

    Washingtonian is written and edited by interns these days.
    What would you expect? Not to worry though, they have convinced themselves they are fabulous.

    By the way what is this banner thing? They are putting up banners to honor Doug Jemal?

  • Tformation

    Those wishing to be reappointed to the Gray administration should be allowed to only if they agree to a pay DECREASE!!!!! In salary and top heavy staff. While they all brag about the number of employees they have fired in each agency, there is no mention of the fact that frontline workers are being replaced by people in management who make two or three times the salary of the terminated employee. How is that good budgeting?

  • David

    Good Riddance to his piece of crap - Fenty and his thugs. I hope they are all end up indicted and in jail for what they did while in office.

  • J

    I hope the Washingtonian knows its been a running joke in this city in many ways for many years. From Best of issues to the who makes what issue - its a joke. At least with City paper you know some hard work went into the details and when you screw up (as you do on occasion)at least you admit it!

  • Econo-girl

    DPRs Pom-Pon and Cheerleading Extravaganza was set up for the reigning champions to fail. last minute rule changes disqualified pom-pon group from their category.


  • PJ Smith

    Tinformation you sound foolish considering that the majority of them were hold overs from previous administrations which moved up. Albert has been around for ever, as was the police chief who came up through the ranks. They were all easily approved by the council who loved them all until they stood up to them.

    David, I hope and pray you don't have kids because the foolery that you spout should be limited to folks you may be able to influence. I mean the fact that you all are till pushing all of this illegal crap and still can't show any proof while we have proof on folks such as Harry Thomas who you all say nothing about is just a damn joke. Get some help, I mean the sad fact is that you probably voted for Fenty 4 years ago.

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  • CH

    Actually, the numbers Washingtonian had for Rhee and Weast were right.