10 Most Expensive Presidential Perks


Personal Staff

The head of the household staff and operations at the White House is known as the chief usher. He or she is responsible for supervising residence staff in three major areas, coordinating both the official, public life of the president as well as the private life of the first family.

Under the chief usher, staff includes the executive chef. Heading up three kitchens and a staff of four sous-chefs, the executive chef creates menus for everything from state dinners to the White House's daily meals. The current executive chef, Cristeta Comerford, is the first woman selected for the post and has held the position since 2005. The White House executive pastry chef plans separately for all desserts and pastries to be served at those formal functions and informal meals.

The physician to the president is the director of the White House medical unit, which is a part of the White House military office, and treats the vice president, family members and White House staff and visitors. He or she oversees a staff of five military physicians, five nurses, five physician assistants, three medics, three administrators and an IT Manager.

The social secretary plans, coordinates and executes all official social events, both political and non-political. Heading up the East Wing's Social Office, on projects ranging in scale from simple teas to dinners for 200 guests, the social secretary works with the chief usher to coordinate domestic staff, and with the chief of protocol on state visits and dinners. Our current social secretary, Jeremy Bernard, is the first man appointed to the role.

The chief calligrapher designs and executes all social and official documents, in the East Wing's Graphics & Calligraphy Office, working on projects such as invitations, greetings from the president, proclamations, military commissions, service awards and place cards. The chief floral designer designs and arranges of all floral decorations for the first family, both for private entertaining and for state functions. With a staff of four assistant designers, the chief florist works with the first lady, chief usher, and social secretary to plan arrangements and decorations for official and private rooms, as well as all holidays.