UMass tops the charts of highest paid state employees
Of the 100 highest paid state workers in Massachusetts, 93 of them are employed by the University of Massachusetts system.
In December, in accordance with public record laws, the Comptroller of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts unveiled Massachusetts Open Checkbook, a website where details of state spending and payroll information is available online.
Nearly 1,200 UMass system employees were paid over $125,000 in 2011, according to data from the Massachusetts Office of the Comptroller, and over 150 UMass system employees’ salaries were above $200,000.
The top paid state employee in Massachusetts is Michael F. Collins, the UMass Medical School Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences.
Collins was paid $761,314 in 2011, a $21,414 increase from the prior year. Collins was appointed Chancellor of the medical school in September of 2008 by the University Board of Trustees. According to the medical school website, Collins’ job entails overseeing the “University of Massachusetts system-wide health and life sciences portfolio, charged with leading strategic initiatives to strengthen the university’s efforts in the area and engaging more fully with the Commonwealth’s dynamic health and life sciences sector.” The Chancellor’s three-year contract was signed by former University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson in February of 2011, which raised his annual base salary and deferred compensation.
In addition, Collins was given a home owned by the University of Massachusetts Foundation to live in while Chancellor. The home, valued at $736,600 is a five-bedroom, four-bathroom house, according to city property records. The second-highest paid employee in the state also works at the medical school.
Terence R. Flotte, dean of the School of Medicine, executive deputy chancellor and provost of the school was paid $701,141 in 2011. The provost received a $42,487 raise from his earnings in 2010. Flotte joined the medical school in May 2007, leaving his position at the University of Florida, where he was Chair of the Pediatrics Department and College of Medicine, according to the UMass Medical School website. The average salary of a provost at the five University of Massachusetts campuses is $316,784. The pay increases of Flotte and Collins stand in contrast with the two percent raises negotiated with union workers at the medical school and a previous salary freeze for all university employees earning $120,000 a year or more, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Kevin P. Morris, the former head football coach at the flagship campus, made the third highest salary in 2011. Morris’ base salary was $200,000 per season, though his total earnings last year were $664,446. Despite the high salary, Morris was fired in November of 2011. UMass Athletic Director John McCutcheon told the Daily Hampshire Gazette that the school’s decision to fire Morris was part of the football team’s move to the Bowl Subdivision of Division I football from the Championship Subdivision. The team’s losing records in 2011 and 2010 also played a part in the decision to fire Morris, said McCutcheon.
Morris signed a five-year contract with the University, and had two years remaining on his contract. McCutcheon told the Gazette Morris was bought out of his contract for $475,000 While University of Massachusetts employees top the pay charts, the governor falls much lower on the list.
In 2011, Governor Deval Patrick made $139,832. Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray was paid $124,327 for the same year. Last year, the governor signed into law reforms in hopes of “new transparency and accountability reforms as part of the state’s [fiscal year] 2011 budget,” according to a statement on his website. These reforms sparked the creation of Massachusetts Open Checkbook.
The website shows all spending by state agencies, including employee earnings and salaries. The statement added, “Open Checkbook is meant to be a window into state government and to provide the public with access to state government spending information.”
Michelle Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.