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Women, Safety Officials Find Room at the Top

By Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 16, 2004; Page PG14

To look at the winners of the county's top elected positions, one would think that men are in charge in Prince George's County.

But look at the payrolls and it becomes clear that women hold some of the county's most influential and highest-paid jobs.

Of the county's top five best-paid employees, four are women.

According to a recent review of county payrolls conducted by The Washington Post, no other jurisdiction in the Washington region can say the same.

"We're a county of anomalies," community activist Donna Beck Hathaway said of the gender distinction, "and we're highly tuned to the underdogs and those who have been kept out due to discriminatory practices."

Jacqueline Brown, the first black female to be appointed chief administrative officer for the county, said the distinction is a testament to her boss's philosophy.

"This administration looks at the worth of what you do and not the gender," said Brown, who was hired by County Executive Jack B. Johnson two years ago.

The Post recently surveyed more than 70,000 salary records from 14 jurisdictions in a review of public sector salaries across the Washington region.

Comparisons of the jurisdictions cannot be made because the information provided varied. Some of the jurisdictions provided information about part-time workers; others did not. Some gave figures for overtime wages and bonuses, while others provided base salaries, which do not include overtime and bonuses.

The data from Prince George's deal with the 5,934 people who work full and part time for the local government.

Here are some of the findings:

• The median base salary for Prince George's County employees in 2003 (the most recent information available) was $50,522.

• Ninety-three, or 1.57 percent, of the county's employees earn more than $100,000.

• More than one-third of those making more than $100,000 work in public safety.

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