CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The Mecklenburg County manager earns one of the highest public administration salaries in the nation.
Dena Diorio, the county’s top administrator, makes over half a million dollars in base salary yearly. The President of the United States earns around $400,000 every year.
Diorio has more than 35 years of experience in public administration. She was appointed as county manager by the Board of Commissioners in 2014. Diorio’s tasks include outlining and managing the county’s $2.3 billion budget.
The Board of Commissioners voted to give Diorio an 8% raise. She now earns $505,841 a year. Her salary is higher than that of the president of the United States. On top of that, the board approved a $25,000 performance-based bonus. The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to give Wake County manager David Ellis a 7.5% raise to earn $373,211, effective July 1, 2023.
“The county manager exceeded expectations on the key initiatives established in her work plan,” Commissioner Pat Cotham said. “The county manager demonstrated all leadership competencies ascribed to her position, and the county manager exceeded expectations for the performance year and successfully delivered additional key products and initiatives.”
Commissioner Susan Rodriguez McDowell voted against the raise and the bonus.
“It is about, for me, income inequality, the distance between the highest paid person and the lowest paid people in the organization. I just don’t want to contribute to that gap,” Commissioner Rodriguez McDowell said. “So, I think the gap is way too large. Another thing is, this is government, and in my view, government has its own rewards.”
In the meeting on September 6, Diorio expressed her gratitude for the board increasing her salary.
“I just want to thank the board for their continued support of me and the work that I do and the support of my team and all of the county employees,” Diorio said. “We love what we do, we’re passionate about the work that we do, and we love to serve the board and the community, and so it feels really good to get the kind of recognition that you’ve given me.”
Diorio will go on leave on September 13 for personal reasons. The deputy county manager will fill in until she returns in October.