South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will pay her chief of staff $125,000 per year, a salary that eclipses her own pay and is $27,000 more than former Gov. Mark Sanford paid his chief of staff, according to records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
Tim Pearson, the chief of staff, is credited with managing the Republican governor's come-from-behind campaign that vaulted her past three other GOP contenders and a Democratic state senator. Trey Walker, a former political adviser, will make $122,775 as deputy chief of staff for communications and legislative affairs.
Haley, who took the oath of office Wednesday, justified the salaries in part because the overall expenses of her office are going down.
"When we came in, if you notice, we reduced the entire structure of the governor's office," Haley said. "It's more efficient than what I had seen."
Haley also said she will end a practice of previous governors who borrowed staff from other agencies to do work for them. That process, called "detailing," allowed governors to spread the cost of running their offices into other agencies' budgets.