Senate Paid $1.2M Over Last 5 Years For Capitol Hill Elevator-Button Pushers

by College Fix Staff on May 13, 2013

“Uncle Sam shelled out more than $1.2 million to pay operators to man the Capitol’s fully automated senators-only elevators over the last five years, according to reports from the secretary of the Senate.”

That’s the latest from Ryan Lovelace, a student at Butler University, contributing reporter to The College Fix and a Weekly Standard intern.

He writes for the Standard that:

The longer the elevator operators push the correct buttons, the more cash they win. The longest-tenured elevator operator has seen his annual salary increase each of the last five years—though non-congressional federal government employee wages are currently frozen—for total earnings of more than $210,000. …

Through the years, college students hoping to finance their education often filled the positions of elevator operators. Now, elevator operators earn salaries that rival those of recent graduates. In the year ending March 31, 2012, the longest-tenured elevator operator made more than $41,000. That salary was greater than the average starting salaries of 2011 graduates in education, math and sciences, and humanities and social sciences, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This elevator operator’s wage fell just a few hundred dollars short of the average starting salary of the 2011 communications graduate. Pushing the correct button hardly requires a college education, but if you know the right people, it can certainly pay off.

The article also notes that Capitol Hill senior employees have, in the past, defended the button-pushers as quasi body guards for lawmakers, as well as guides for lost tourists.

Nevertheless, in times of austerity, one must be austere. Too bad the big spenders in Washington D.C. will never lead by example. Why should they? It’s not their money they’re using to pay for their button pushers – it’s ours.

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