Highest earning state employees nearly all worked for UMass in 2018

Represented 97 of the 100 highest paid workers


(Will Katcher/Daily Collegian)

By Will Katcher, Collegian Staff

The University of Massachusetts system employees represented 97 of the 100 highest paid workers on the state payroll in 2018, according to a story by the Boston Globe.

The Globe, which cited data from the state’s office of the comptroller, published a list of the 100 highest state employee salaries on Jan. 16.

Administrators at the UMass Medical School in Worcester represented the three highest earners on the list, and four of the top five. Michael Collins, the school’s chancellor, took the top spot, earning over $1.06 million in 2018, making him the only state employee to crack seven figures. Martin Meehan, president of the UMass system, held fourth place on the list, earning roughly $660,000.

The highest paid UMass Amherst employee was Derek Lovley, a distinguished professor in the College of Natural Science, whose salary topped $630,000, the sixth highest on the list. He was directly followed by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, who earned roughly $580,000.

In 2017, when Collins was also the highest compensated Massachusetts employee, “39 of the 50 states’ payrolls were topped by a football or men’s basketball coach,” reported ESPN.

In Alabama, for instance, football coach Nick Saban earned over $11 million in 2017, making him the highest paid state employee in the country. Other widely known coaches, such as Clemson football’s Dabo Swinney and Kentucky basketball’s John Calipari – formerly of UMass Amherst – followed Saban.

Of the 11 states that didn’t pay their highest salaries to coaches in 2017, 10 paid the most to people in academia or medicine. Alaska was the only exception, where the top paid employee was Keith Meyer, then-president of the Alaska Gasoline Development Corporation.

UMass coaches were still among the highest paid in the state in 2018, with men’s basketball head coach Matt McCall sitting at ninth, earning $537,000. Following McCall, the state paid over $503,000, the 10th highest amount on the payroll, to former head football coach Mark Whipple, who UMass Amherst parted ways with at the end of this past season.

In December the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported that Whipple’s successor, Walt Bell, the former offensive coordinator for Florida State University, had signed a contract that will pay “$625,000 per year over five years, a slight paycut from the $700,000 per year he made on his Florida State contract.” This will make Bell the seventh highest paid state employee.

Both the Amherst and Lowell campuses boasted top tier men’s hockey programs by the end of 2018, and the two respective head coaches, Greg Carvel and Norm Bazin, were featured on the list.

Bazin, whose River Hawks are currently ranked 14th in the country, was the 16th highest earner in the state, earning over $464,000. In contrast, Carvel, who earned roughly $318,000 in 2018 and sat at 63rd on the list, has coached the Minutemen to the second place ranking team in the country, with brief periods in the top spot.

Both coaches signed contract extensions in the last year-and-a-half, Bazin in the fall of 2017 when his team ranked 19th and Carvel at the end of last season, when his team was not ranked but had improved by 12 wins from the previous year.

Other high earners in the athletics departments include Dana Skinner and Ryan Bamford, the athletics directors at Lowell and Amherst, respectively. Skinner was paid $398,683 and held the 26th spot, while Bamford earned $364,593, putting him at 37th.

At the Lowell, Boston and Dartmouth campuses, the top earning employee was each school’s chancellor. At Lowell, Jacqueline Moloney earned nearly $480,000 in 2018, placing her at 12th on the list, four spots ahead of Bazin, the next highest paid at the school. Maloney was also the highest earning woman on the state payroll last year.

UMass Dartmouth’s second year chancellor Robert Johnson was 15th on the list, earning $466,730, while Katherine Newman, chancellor of the Boston campus, was 20th, with a salary of $441,912 in her first year holding the position.

Neither UMass Amherst nor the UMass President’s Office responded to requests for comment.

State Chief Medical Examiner Mindy Hull, who earned $375,000 and was 36th highest on the payroll, was the top earner on the list of the three employees outside the UMass system.

Robert Pura, former president of Greenfield Community College, earned $314,457 last year and was 69th on the list. He was incorrectly named as an employee of Bunker Hill Community College by the Globe.

Michael Fiore, a sergeant in the state police, was the only officer included on the list. The article noted the state recorded payroll data for the first five months of 2018 separately for the state police’s Troop F. A year ago, the Globe revealed the payroll records for Troop F, which showed wages had been hidden from public view, as some officers collected extensive overtime pay. In that report, the Globe stated Fiore “collected $164,607 for overtime and $134,133 in base pay.”

Payroll records from 2017 published by the Globe show that a few state police officers in Troop F could land in the top 100 highest paid state employees. Four officers that year, Fiore included, earned more than $294,000, enough to make the list.

The Globe has since covered the reaction to the payroll abuse allegations, which has included several officers facing criminal charges.

Will Katcher can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @will_katcher.