Wednesday, May 02, 2007

MORE ON Wolfowitz's girlfriend controvery: unlike what it seems by reading the papers and hearing the usual suspects, salaries like Shaha Riza's are nothing extraordinary in the World Bank:
The number that triggered the attacks on World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz was $193,590.

The figure represented the salary he endorsed for his girlfriend, communications adviser Shaha Riza. Even though Wolfowitz did try to recuse himself from decisions about Riza, colleagues have turned against him so violently that both his anti-corruption campaign and his career at the bank are now on hold. Yesterday, the European Parliament called for his resignation.

Some observers will tell you the Wolfowitz flap is about Democrats and their allies in the blue states -- including the one known as the U.K. -- trying to bring down another neocon friend of U.S. President George W. Bush.

This fracas is also, just as the bank staff say, about company pay.

A closer look at bank pay suggests the trouble here isn't that Riza gets a ``girlfriend'' salary, a mysterious wage not quite tethered to market reality. It is that World Bank staffers also do -- and almost all without spending a minute alone with the bank's embattled president.

The World Bank has an administrative budget of $1 billion a year. It employs more than 10,000 people. Thousands of others consult.

It doesn't publish current salaries. But according to the 2006 annual report, a senior professional, or ``G'' level employee, starts at $92,230 and can go up to $167,860, a little more than the $165,200 for a member of the 110th Congress. A manager, or ``H'' level staffer, can make $226,650. This was the category for which Riza was on the shortlist.

In Line Pay

Some 1,000 employees are in the H range. So the portrayal of Riza as someone receiving unheard-of compensation is inaccurate.
Keep reading.