The job exemplifies one of those situations where the head of an agency has a number of subordinates who earn much more.
Dr. Michael Lancaster, an administrator who works in Raleigh, is the department's higest paid doctor. He makes $268,591 a year.
If Insko's bill passed, the secretary's salary would more than double, to $308,879.
More after the jump.
Insko said the salary the DHHS secretary earns does not match its responsibilities — running an agency with 19,000 employees with a budget of $17 billion.
"It's difficult to find someone who is willing to come serve for a long period of time unless we can be a little more competitive with the private sector," she said.
any school superintendents and heads of local government mental health offices make more than the DHHS secretary, said Insko, who is chairwoman of the House budget subcommittee on health and human services.
"It's outrageous what we expect from people," she said. "Even at twice the salary, they would be true public servants to come and take on that responsibility."
Insko said it was right to introduce the bill, even during a recession where the threat of state employee layoffs is looming.
"I suspect if you ask anyone in the public what they thought this person made, the would guess it's already twice as high as it is now," she said.