More than 4,200 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) employees nationwide earned more than $100,000 in base salary last year, according to a new salary search tool released by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).

NAHRO compiled the data through a recent Freedom of Information Act request.

The organization said that the 4,241 HUD employees who earned more than $100,000 in base pay as of June 2011 represented approximately 45 percent of the 9,384.5 full-time equivalent employees on the department’s payroll for the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2011, based on an analysis of HUD’s fiscal 2013 budget justifications.

 According to the search tool, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan earned $199,700 in base salary, and assistant secretaries earned about $155,500.  The tool can be found at

A HUD representative declined to comment on the data except to note that government salaries have long been public.

NAHRO’s look at HUD salaries comes at a time when the wages of some local public housing authority (PHA) executives are under fire for being excessive. The appropriations bill setting HUD’s 2012 budget established a one-year cap of $155,500 on the federal contribution that a PHA could use toward a housing authority executive salary. Any salary above that level would have to be paid for with other funds. The cap only applies to salary and not other forms of cash compensation, and it is for just fiscal 2012. HUD is proposing to set compensation limits going forward as well.

The vast majority of PHA executives, 97 percent, earn less than $155,500 in total cash compensation.

NAHRO reported that 1,640 HUD employees earned at least $125,000 in base salary (excluding bonuses) last year, about 17 percent of the department’s entire workforce at the time. In comparison, 7 percent of PHA executive directors earned $125,000 or more in total cash compensation (including bonuses) in 2010.