Kevin Aherne (@KAherne17)
With a gross salary of $597,500, a college basketball coach was Rhode Island's highest paid state employee in 2013. For Dan Hurley, the second year coach of the URI Rams, that equated to $49,785 per victory (and $38,222 per defeat). While as the leader of a Division I college basketball program, Hurley is indirectly responsible for the more than $2 million in annual revenue generated by the team. But with the team expenses closely matching its revenue, the basketball program is a financial wash.
While it may seem odd that a basketball coach would be the highest paid employee, Rhode Island is just one of 40 U.S. states where an collegiate level coach is a state's top earner. So, in moving down the Rhode Island's state salary list a bit, some even more foreboding facts are revealed--namely that more than 1,500 state employees earned six-figures in 2013 when accounting for salary, overtime, and bonus pay.
See RI's 100 highest paid state employees in the graphic below
Some notable names toward the top of the list, compiled by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, include URI President David Dooley (#2 - $320,000 gross pay), CCRI President Ray DiPasquale (#4 - $265,000 gross pay) , Chief Justice of the RI Supreme Court Paul Sutell (#11 - $218,760 gross pay), RI Department of Education Commissioner Deborah Gist (#22 - $204,800 gross pay), Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo (#26 - $200,197 gross pay), and much further down the list, Governor Lincoln Chafee (#465 - $129,210 gross pay).
Yes, you read that correctly, 464 Rhode Island state employees earned more in 2013 than the Governor. In fact, Chafee was only the fifth highest paid employee in the Governor's Office, which was topped by former Chief of Staff George Zainyeh ($188,767).
Who else tops the list?
The Governor, Chief Justice, and Head Basketball Coach are very public figures, who are often seen in the media and are publicly known. But, who are these other employees who earned six-figure salaries. Meet Stella Adeniyi, the state's third highest paid employee--a registered nurse for the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH)--who has worked at Cranston's Eleanor Slater Hospital for nearly 15 years.
Adeniyi was paid $276,335 in 2013, $164,438 of which was overtime pay. High rates of overtime pay are common in the BHDDH, as 20 members of its staff were in the top 100 highest paid Rhode Island employees--four of which were in the top ten. That department paid out $15,736,916 in overtime wages to its 1,531 employees.
Nearly a quarter billion in OT pay
In all, Rhode Island state employees were paid $205,244,944 in overtime pay in 2013. And of the state's 50,381 total employees, only 893 went without overtime pay. Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity points toward collective bargaining as the root for this rampant overtime pay expenditure.
"Inconceivable overtime compensation is a collectively bargained right for many government workers with seniority privileges that must be cut back."
Small government, big pay
A report card released last week by the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity shows that while the Ocean State receives an A for the low number of public workers per private sector worker, we receive an F for the high compensation those state employees receive.
With the state's unemployment (7.9%) at the highest level in the region, and among the highest in the U.S., high overtime with low employment seems to be indicative of the state's overall job landscape.
See RI's Top 100 Highest Paid Employees in 2013