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Who is the Highest Paid State Employee?

9:43 AM, May 16, 2007   |    comments
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By Shannon Ogden First Coast News JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Florida Governor Charlie Crist has the top job in the state, right? In terms of salary, not even close. Governor Crist is the 969th highest paid state employee. So who is the highest paid? We'll get to that. Rank-and-file state workers make an average annual salary of $54,000. And senior managers receive an average salary of $152,000 a year. The governor makes just under $133,000 a year, meaning as the most senior, senior manager he makes $19,000 less than senior managers. But he does get to live in a really nice house. "State government is about trying to keep down salaries. So the governor of the state of Florida doesn't make what the CEO of a corporation would make, of a comparable corporation," says Dr. Henry Thomas, political science professor at the University of North Florida. And if a governor tried to have his salary increased to that of a comparable CEO, chances are voters would not invite him back for another term. So who is the highest paid Florida state employee? Drum roll please. It's Bobby Bowden, head coach of the Florida State Seminoles and college football's winningest coach. Coach Bowden brings in $2,023,689.15 a year. Is it fair that a football coach makes $1.9 million more than the governor? Well, you could argue that Coach Bowden has won two national championships and Governor Crist hasn't won any. But the truth is football coaches simply get paid a lot more. Professor Thomas calls them the rock stars of state government. "Increasingly, institutions create booster clubs to help fund those kinds of activities," Thomas says. Bowden's base state salary is $200,000, give or take. The university negotiates the rest through endorsements, performance bonuses and incentives. The pay scale inside state government is a little out of whack with the pay scale outside state government. It sometimes seems a little out of whack with common sense, too. Charlie Crist did spend $20 million to land a job that pays $133,000 a year. Click here to view the list (51k PDF)

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