Iowa’s deputy state epidemiologist received a 28% pay raise

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 8:35 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Ann Garvey received a 28% pay raise during the pandemic.

Garvey’s annual salary went up around $36,000, from $126,127.80 to $162,136. The money will come from the state’s general appropriation fund. It’s the second significant pay raise to a high ranking epidemiologist at the Iowa Department of Public Health since the pandemic has begun. Medical Director and State Epidemiologist Caitlin Pedati received a 45% pay raise in July.

Pedati’s raise was first reported from the Bleeding Hartland blog in August. KCRG-TV9′s i9 investigative unit discovered emails, through a public records request, that show a staff member from the governor’s office potentially was the first one to propose Pedati’s pay raise. Those emails also show Interim Director of Iowa Public Health and Director of Iowa Health and Human Services Kelly Garcia also asked a staff member with the Governor’s office if he could also review Dr. Garvey’s salary as well.

Paul Trombino, who serves as the chief operating officer for the governor’s office and acting director of administrative services for the state, then responded he had to put her into a different classification. That new classification would reflect the new supervisory nature of her position.

Matt Highland, who is a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Health, said in a statement to i9 the pay raise was to reflect that enhanced role.

“Dr. Garvey received a pay increase to reflect an enhanced role and increased responsibilities as the supervisor for the Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology,” Highland said.

Highland also said Garvey has more than 10 years of experience with IDPH and her expertise has been critical in the state’s response to COVID-19.

“Her expertise has been critical in the COVID-19 response and she was given a raise to appropriately compensate her for the breadth and volume of work she performs and to reflect the new supervisory nature of her position,” Highland said.

Garvey is paid more than people in higher positions in other states. Dr. Randall Williams, who is the director for Health and Human Services in Missouri, made $143,360.99 in 2019. He’s currently made $122,923.12 in 2020. Kansas Secretary of Health made less than $100,000.

Many health directors make more money than Garvey. Dr. Mandy Cohen, who is the head of North Carolina’s health department makes more than $200,000.

Our i9 team also compared her salary to other people who hold the same position in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Oregon. Only Pennsylvania’s deputy state epidemiologist made more than Garvey, even though the population of Oregon and Pennsylvania are much larger.

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