In 2004, Congress expanded an FDA bonus program designed to attract and retain highly skilled regulators. The measure was enacted to prevent a mass exodus of FDA workers to more highly-paid jobs in the private sector. But now critics say the bonus program has gotten out of hand. Many of the largest bonuses go to already well-compensated officials rather than the FDA scientists, inspectors and doctors most likely to defect. Additionally, the average FDA worker makes double the average federal government employee, and many think it's money not well spent. Critics point to the recent rash of food-borne diseases as a sign that the effort to keep FDA employees isn't translating into better regulation and oversight. FDA officials, on the other hand, says that a lower turn-over rate is a sign that the bonuses are doing what they should.
- see this Washington Post article for more