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Pay raises are a sore topic at the SEC these days. In July chairman Harvey Pitt asked for a salary boost, drawing yet another round of jeers and catcalls for his bumbling PR skills. At the same time, Pitt has been battling many of his own attorneys over a recently revamped salary structure for the SEC. After Congress finally granted the agency pay parity with the Federal Reserve and other financial industry regulators earlier this year, the SEC created a plan in May that raised base salaries by 6 percent, but granted approximately 6 percent more to managers. The extra pay for supervisors rankled some. “Pitt hijacked pay parity for the managers,” says Michael Clampitt, an attorney in the agency’s division of corporation finance. He is also the president of the SEC chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union. More than a third of the chapter’s roughly 2,000 members are lawyers. Division heads and managers are ineligible to join. The SEC cites longtime recruiting and retention problems as the reasons for imposing the new salary structure. But Clampitt thinks this issue is a red herring. “We’re not losing any managers,” he says. “You couldn’t get them out of here with a tractor trailer.” In seeking funds for his agency, Pitt has told Congress that “pay parity has been and remains my highest budget priority.” If only he could convince his own staff.

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