Which cities, states have the best-paid feds?

This is a semi-trick question, if you overthink it.

On the other hand, if you go with your gut, you may be equally wrong. Here goes:

Which state in the continental U.S. has the best-paid civil servants as residents? Would that be Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Idaho, New York or California? Or some other state that would surprise you?

Which cities are home to the best-paid federal workers regardless of their job or agency? Is it Washington, D.C.; Huntsville, Alabama; San Francisco; Maysville, Kentucky; Los Angeles; Napervlle, Illinois or New York City?

Who makes the most? Feds who work in Houston or Dallas-Fort Worth? San Francisco or Los Angeles?

Thanks to locality pay, and the sometimes whacky way it is applied or denied, where you work has a lot to do with how much you make whether you are tinker, tailor, scientist or spy for the U.S. government.

The largest concentrations of high-salary civil servants is in the Washington metro area, New York, California and Texas. But the very highest-paid career government workers don’t live in Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Alexandria, Potomac or other suburbs of D.C. The better-paid live and work in or around San Francisco and Los Angeles. And New York City.

The top career salary, GS 15 step 10, is the same everywhere. That cap is $164,200. But starting salaries for GS 15 (step) one range from $121,690 in Albuquerque to $121,869 in the Palm Beach locality pay area. And even less in cities in the RUS (rest of U.S. catchall locality zone). Assuming there are any GS 15s in those areas.

To illustrate the wide variety of federal salaries around the country, we picked GS 11, step 5. Here is what that grade pays around the country:

Washington D.C., $77,109 ; San Francisco-San Jose , $83,760; Seattle, $75,239; Los Angeles, $78,522; Atlanta, $72,863; New York City, $79,926; Philadelphia, $74,926; Dallas-Fort Worth, $74,210; Houston, $79,226, etc. So if size counts, so does location. To see where your salary ranks on the GS scale for your locality, as well as how far down the GS 15 pay cap goes city-by-city, click here.

Oh, why are Maysville, Kentucky and Naperville, Illinois on the list? Because Maysville is in the Cincinnati locality area where a GS 11 step 5 gets $72,087. Naperville, in the Chicago locality area, comes in at $76,658. Amazing what a difference a few miles can make in what you can make.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

Frontiersmen Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone were among the founders of Maysville, Kentucky.

Source: Wikipedia