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6-figure salary, no severance: What an FBI director has to lose

Posted at 9:47 PM, May 11, 2017

James Comey's ouster from the top of the FBI sent shock waves through Washington, and left many wondering what happens next.

The FBI director job was a step down in pay from his previous roles as general counsel for an aerospace giant and a hedge fund, even though the role is a level III position in the executive schedule. According to the Office of Personnel Management as of 2017, that should have an annual salary of $172,100.


FBI spokesperson Susan McKee said the bureau had no comment about retirement benefits for FBI employees, or Comey's benefits specifically.

But unlike other federal employees, it doesn't appear that Comey has any severance package coming his way.

The president appoints the FBI director for a typical 10-year term, and the Office of Personnel Management says presidential appointments aren't eligible for severance pay. As far as a pension goes, the FBI director, like other federal employees, can qualify for the Federal Employees Retirement System.

John Grobe, a retired federal benefits manager and president of Federal Career Experts, said Comey's firing "should not affect anything with regard to a pension" under the Federal Employees Retirement System.

Comey submitted financial documents in 2013 when the Senate was considering him for the job. Those documents showed he had a net worth of more than $11 million. He also said he'd get a payout from the massive hedge fund Bridgewater Associates of more than $3 million if he became FBI director.

Comey was the company's general counsel for more than two years in addition to five years as general counsel for the defense industry giant Lockheed Martin.