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With a $417,608 salary in 2019, Dr. Anthony Fauci is now the highest-paid federal employee, outpacing even the President of the United States.
However, 19 University of Texas employees make more.
Fauci, who is Director of the National Institute for Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and current Chief Medical Advisor to the President, became a household name after leading daily press conferences for the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The doctor makes more than all four million federal employees in the Executive Branch and has a salary significantly higher than the Branch's 2019 salary cap of $172,500. Fauci, alongside two other doctors that make more than the President, belongs to an exception of the rule made for doctors and scientists to compete with private corporations' salaries.
Federal salaries are still far from the pay of the private sector, however. In the most recent year available (2019), 10 medical professors, deans and department chairs at UT out-earned Fauci's salary. Charles Fraser, a world-renowned pediatric heart surgeon, is the highest-paid non-athletic employee with a $1,534,053 2019 salary. Carlos Mery, another cardiac surgeon involved in the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease program alongside Fraser, made $888,333. S. Claiborne Johnston, Dean at Dell Medical School, was the highest-paid dean at the university with a salary of $869,310.
UT and other universities have long held high salaries for their athletic programs. In 2019, then-head football coach Tom Herman made over $2.5 million, more than any other University of Texas employee and over six times more than Fauci. Herman earned 4,044.4% more than the national average for government employees.
Four other UT head coaches surpassed the medical adviser for the president's salary as well. Head men's basketball coach Shaka Smart came just behind Herman with a $2,156,639 salary, while baseball head coach David Pierce made just over $600,000, former women's head basketball coach Karen Aston made $484,633 and head track and field coach Edrick Floreal made a $466,500 salary. Two assistant football coaches also made the list, including then-defensive coordinator Todd Orlando ($1,183,593) and offensive coordinator Timothy Beck ($576,767). Texas' Athletic Director, Christopher del Conte, was the university's fifth-highest paid employee at $893,333.While Fauci made less than 19 UT employees, his salary still put him ahead of members of the House of Representatives and Senators, who will make $174,000 this year. All of UT's top 100 employees made more than U.S. Representatives and Senators in 2019, while 61 make more than the nation's four-star military generals.
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Matthew McConaughey is reportedly weighing a run for Texas governor in 2022.
The Austin resident and Oscar winner has been "quietly making calls to influential people in Texas political circles, including a deep-pocketed moderate Republican and energy CEO" as he decides whether to run, according to Politico.
McConaughey said a gubernatorial run is "a true consideration" while on a March episode of Houston's "The Balanced Voice" podcast.
Although most political strategists doubt McConaughey's commitment and viability as a candidate, some are still intrigued by the possibility.
"I find it improbable, but it's not out of the question," Karl Rove, a top Republican strategist with a long history in Austin, told the political news site. He added that the big question is whether McConaughey would run as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent.
Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based GOP strategist, told Politico he's surprised McConaughey isn't being taken more seriously. "Celebrity in this country counts for a lot," he said. "It's not like some C-list actor no one likes. He has an appeal."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to run for a third term and remains popular among Republican voters, 77% of whom approve of his performance as of April, according to the Texas Politics Project.
Some strategists believe an independent McConaughey run would benefit Abbott. But a recent poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that McConaughey would beat Abbott, 45% to 33%, with 22% opting for someone else.
Mimi Swartz, an executive editor at Texas Monthly, mulled a McConaughey run in a recent opinion essay from the New York Times. "Texas may not be ready for a philosopher king as a candidate, much less governor," she wrote. "May the best man win, man."
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Some JuiceLand production facility workers and storefront employees are organizing to demand wage increases, better working conditions (including air conditioning in the warehouse) and pay transparency, among other asks. They are also calling on staff to strike and customers to boycott the Austin-based company until their demands are met.
JuiceLand responded on Saturday. "We are listening," the company wrote on their Instagram story. "JuiceLand crew now makes guaranteed $15 an hour or more companywide."
JuiceLand, which was founded in 2001 by Matt Shook and now has 35 locations in Austin, Houston and Dallas, acknowledged the rising cost of living across Texas and the added stress of the pandemic in an email to employees on Saturday, part of which @juicelandworkersrights shared on social media. "There's no denying that times are tough and financial security means more now than ever," the company wrote.
Organized JuiceLand workers rejected this proposal, according to a recent post on the @juicelandworkersrights Instagram account, and reiterated their demands.
"Cost of living in Austin is rising exponentially and will only continue to get worse with the tech boom," the post read. "$15 is barely a sustainable living."