Governors have the top titles in the states, but they are not usually the highest paid state employees. Public executives overseeing solid waste management, education or utility regulation earn more in some states, with salaries as high as $525,000, according to Stateline.
Stateline, a non-profit news service, said a survey by the Council of State Governments (CSG)
revealed the pay difference, but it may have actually understated the disparity in pay between governors and some of their employees.
“The review does not include every state administrator and may not capture the highest administrative salary in each state. It also does not include very highly paid state employees in fields such as athletic coaching and healthcare,” Stateline noted.
The CSG produces “The Book of the States,” a reference guide on state governments.
Audrey Wall, managing editor of the guide, said some state executives got raises in 2013 to keep their pay competitive with the private sector.
“To get the best people, you have to pay on par with the private sector. You can’t just say, ‘You’re working for your state.’ That only goes so far.”
The top non-sports paycheck in a state is most likely to go to whoever oversees higher education there, which is the case in 28 states, Stateline reported. It said University of North Carolina President Thomas Ross, who also is president of the 17-campus university system, earned the most in the CSG survey at $525,000.
Another instance where a state executive earned more than the governor was in Texas. Kyle Janek, executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, earns $210,000, Stateline said.
By contrast, the average governor’s salary was $130,595 in 2010. Maine Gov. Paul LePage is the lowest paid governor at $70,000, the CSG survey found.
On the sports front, Deadspin reported earlier this year that the highest-paid active government employees in the U.S. includes 27 football coaches, 13 basketball coaches and one hockey coach.
Perhaps the biggest standout of recent years was University of Texas football coach Mack Brown. Deadspin reported that in the 2011-2012 season, Brown was paid $5 million to lead a mediocre 8-5 Texas team to the second-tier Holiday Bowl.
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