Oct 22, 2010

Virginia’s Highest Paid State Workers Are Found at UVa

For middleclass families struggling to meet the annual tuition increases imposed by Virginia’s public institutions, it may come as a surprise that the Commonwealth’s highest paid state worker is the Provost of the University of Virginia.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dr. Arthur Garson, Jr., outgoing UVa executive vice president and provost, earned a cool $706,800 last year—more than double what provosts from other state schools are paid.

By comparison, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, made $166,250 (after a voluntary 5 percent pay cut). Nearly all of McDonnell’s cabinet members and key staff made $145,153.

For 2010, the average salary for state workers came to about $50,298, with 59,514 of the 92,924 employees earning less than average. More than 400 employees earned $200,000 or more, with college and university staff by far the highest earners on the state payroll.

After Dr. Garson, the state’s next highest salary goes to Dr. Steven T. Dekosky, who made $650,000, as the dean of UVa’s School of Medicine. Dr. Irving Kron, UVa Health Systems Department of Surgery Chairman, who is listed simply as “professor,” came in third at $561,100.

But the top earners were not just administrators. Fourth from the top was George Mason University men’s basketball coach, Jim Larranaga, who earned $525,000, last year as a “professional instructor.” William Lazor, offensive coordinator for the UVa football team, received $425,000, while the defensive coordinator James Reid earned $356,000—both paid entirely from state funds.

UVa’s new president Teresa Sullivan is the fifth-highest paid official at the University and seventh on the overall list of top earners with an annual salary of $485,000, according to the Times-Dispatch. She comes in just behind Virginia Commonwealth University president Michael Rao, who makes $488,500 and just above GMU president Alan Merten, at $468,000, and Virginia Tech’s president Charles Steger, at $457,040.

In fact, the first several thousand salaries listed on the state payroll are entirely dominated by staff employed by the Commonwealth’s public colleges and universities.

According to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), Virginia’s undergrads at 4-year public institutions experienced an average increase in tuition and total mandatory fees of 10.5 percent. Students attending community colleges saw an 18.1 percent increase. Based on the data collected by the Times-Dispatch, it’s not hard to imagine where some of this money must be going.

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