First in a series of three stories. Next: University salaries above national average
By Margaret Sessa-Hawkins
The number of state employees making over $100,000 jumped dramatically to 6,847 in 2013 due to an across-the-board 2% cost-of-living raise, MarylandReporter.com’s fourth annual analysis of state salaries found. Numerically, this represented a 1,184 increase from 2012, a 20% rise in the number of state and university employees making six figures.
Here is the complete list of those state workers making over $100,000. Similar stories from the three previous years are at the bottom of this story.
Despite this, Maryland state salaries were, on average, slightly lower than the average per capita personal income of Maryland residents, according to a database provided by the Comptroller’s office in response to a Public Information Act request.
The 2% raise came from a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, a spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O’Malley said. This was the first COLA since fiscal 2009.
“This isn’t something that’s alarming or an issue,” Christopher Summers, of the non-partisan Maryland Public Policy Institute said. “It’s not like there were COLA increases year after year. We’ve known for a while that this would have to happen at some point.”
COLA raise intended to keep up with inflation
Spokeswoman Nina Smith stated that freezes in the cost-of-living adjustments, occasional furloughs, and temporary salary reductions were all necessary during the economic recession. Now that the economy is recovering the COLA raise was put in to help state workers keep up with the costs of inflation, she said.
Although the rise was significant numerically, it represented only a percentage point increase in the number of state employees earning over $100,000. With the increase the number of state employees earning over 100,000 in 2013 was 6,847, or roughly 7% of the 95,871 total state employees.
Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer, chair of the Budget & Taxation Committee and a Democrat, said the increase was “long overdue.”
“State employees have born a lot of the burdens of the recession from a budget perspective,” Kasemeyer said. “It’s nice to know they are beginning to get back what they missed out on for the last few years.”
Senator Joe Getty, a Republican on the Budget & Taxation Committee, however, took a different view, and called the COLA increase, “disturbing, but not surprising given the approach Governor O’Malley has taken to growing the budget over his term.”
University makes up bulk of six-figure employees
The state agency with the largest increase in workers earning over $100,000 was the University System of Maryland. For the past few years, the university system has been one of the highest-paying institutions overall. Not only does it employ the majority of workers earning over $100,000, it also employs the highest earners in general.
All of the top ten highest-paid employees this year were from the University of Maryland, with the top two — Head Basketball Coach Mark Turgeon and Head Football Coach Randy Edsall — earning above $2,000,000.
However, Summers of MPPI said that while the numbers for some employees may seem large, they are in line with the market rates.
“In this area it’s a question of what they are giving up by not going into the private sector,” he said. “These folks are heads of very large agencies, and the salary [in the private sector] would be comparable. To retain the best and the brightest in their field they have to provide a competitive compensation package.”
University system spokesperson Mike Lurie also points out that people frequently make the mistake of assuming university salaries are solely financed by taxpayer dollars. In reality the highest wages come from multiple sources including research grants, media deals, and income from private-practice clinics. The database provided by the Comptroller’s office does not distinguish between sources.
State police has more six-figure earners due to extra salary adjustments
Outside of the university system, the agency which saw the largest increase in persons earning over $100,000 was the State Police. Both the number and percentage of their staff earning over $100,000 almost doubled this year. This was due not only to the COLA, but also to three salary increases which averaged out to roughly 1.25% each. The increases were intended to create consistency between increments and promotable ranks and went into effect June 2011, July 2012 and April 2013.
“Before we negotiated the increases we were the lowest paid state police force in the country when you accounted for cost of living and CPI [consumer price index],” said Jimmy Dulay, President of the State Law Enforcement Labor Alliance, SLEOLA. “We’re competing for recruitment and retention, and obviously salary and benefits contribute to that. This will help us to recruit qualified people, and retain our qualified workers. We’ve had too many people leave to other departments such as Delaware.”
Other agencies which saw a significant increase in the number of employees earning over $100,000 were the state colleges and universities, and the Department of Transportation. The agencies which had the most staff earning over $100,000 in general were the university system, the Judiciary, the Department of State Police, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Transportation.
Average salary is roughly $54,000
Despite the rise in the number of state workers making over $100,000, the vast majority of state workers still earn salaries well below six figures. In fact, salaries for state workers average slightly below those of their private sector counterparts.
While the personal per capita income for Maryland residents averaged $54,259 in 2013 according to the U.S. Commerce Department, the average salary for Maryland state workers was $54,164.
Jeff Pittman, communications director of Maryland AFSCME, that largest state employee union, points out that an average of $54,000 still means roughly half the workers earn salaries below this mark.
“We represent a lot of hard working people, and they’re not making fifty-four grand a year,” Pittman said. “It’s not the case that public employees are getting tremendous raises while everyone else suffers. It’s just not the case.”
Top Ten Making Over $100,000
- Mark Turgeon Head Men’s Basketball coach, University of Maryland $2,229,194.64
- Randy Edsall, Head Football coach, University of Maryland $2,078,248.58
- Brenda Frese, Head Women’s Basketball coach, University of Maryland $989,609.76
- Bartley Griffith, Professor of Transplant Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine $893,041.98
- Stephen Bartlett, Chair of the Department of Surgery & Professor of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine $864,249.40
- E. Albert Reece Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences $812,690.57
- Jay Perman, President University of Maryland Baltimore $811,986.77
- John Olson, Vice Chair of Surgery & Professor of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine $710.858
- James Gammie, Professor of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine $683,056
- Robert Gallo, Director of the Institute of Human Virology, Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine $612,189
Top Ten Non-University Employees
- Linda De Hoyos, Psychiatrist, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. $283,899
- Ann Moye, CIO, State Retirement Agency. $279,253
- Paul Wiedefeld, Executive Direct, Maryland Aviation Administration Department of Transportation. $276,018
- James White, Executive Director, Maryland Port Administration, Department of Transportation. $272,639
- Michael Frenz Executive Director, Maryland Stadium Authority. $263,822
- Robert Bass, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical services. $254,895
- David Fowler, Chief Medical Examiner, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. $240,247
- Sharon Baucom, Chief Medical Director, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. $232,303
- Larry Unger President and Chief Executive Officer, Maryland Public Broadcasting. $229,366
- Brian Hepburn, Executive Director Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. $223,333
Related Stories from previous years