Haley responds to staff salary criticism

Gov. Nikki Haley is defending her move to pay her chief of staff more than her predecessor.

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- Gov. Nikki Haley is responding to criticism that she will pay her chief of staff $125,000 per year.

Salary records show that Tim Pearson is being paid $27,000 more than former Gov. Mark Sanford paid his chief of staff. The former Haley campaign manager is also making more than the $106,000 set by law as the governor's salary.

Friday morning Haley defended the move amid criticism, including a Charleston Post and Courier editorial criticizing the new governor for paying staff members more than her predecessor Mark Sanford.

We TMre actually paying our staff less, we are paying individuals more. You get what you pay for, its not 9 pm " 5 pm Monday through Friday its 24 hours a day 7 days a week to get the job done|I pay based on performance," said Haley.

Gov. Haley is also paying her deputy chief of staff for communications and legislative affairs, Trey Walker, more than $122,000.

Haley took office Wednesday. She says she's streamlined the governor's office and is expecting more from her staff. She also says her office will work efficiently and within its budget.

During the announcement of these appointees Haley pointed out she will work with a staff of 16, a smaller staff than that of Sanford's which kept more than 20 employees on board.

Haley also says she will no longer borrow staff from other agencies. That practice cut governors' costs in the past.

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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)