Bonus Cream Rises to the Top at FDA

Many professionals at FDA are dedicated, overworked and underpaid, earning on average in the $80K per year range. When an issue was made about some managers receiving $5000 bonuses (before taxes) a few weeks ago, that seemed ridiculous, but Congress continued investigating the bonuses this past week. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported  (click here for the article) that the Agency's regulatory affairs  chief Margaret Glavin has received over $178,000 in cash bonuses (on top of a $159,840 annual salary) for the past four and a half years, and $48,823 in cash bonuses in 2005 alone.  She was reportedly asked to sign a simple declaration: "If I am unable to receive a retention allowance, I am likely to leave the federal government for a higher paying position in the private sector." In contrast, chemical engineer Rebecca Parrilla, the FDA investigator who won the agency's top national award last year received  a cash bonus of $2,500, or $1,400 after taxes. Not to make any arguments re: the utility of a liberal arts vs. sciences degree (Carly Fiorina had a B.A. in medieval studies after all), and both jobs are necessary, but how about spreading the tiny windfall a bit more equitably throughout the Agency?  More evidence that what happens within FDA, as an organization, isn't all that different from what goes on within a typical pharma (or other) company. -AMS