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Universities claim bulk of Kansas’ 1,000 highest-paid state employees

By   /   August 15, 2013  /   4 Comments

CONSOLIDATED CASH: Of Kansas’ 1,000 highest-paid state employees, 954 — more than 95 percent — work for a public university.

By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE — With all the talk lately about whether state universities are making good use of public funds, I became curious about one of the biggest expense any organization incurs: staff salaries.

And the figure I uncovered is nothing short of eye-popping.

Of the 1,000 highest-paid public employees in Kansas last year, nearly all of them were on the payroll of one of the state’s six public universities.

I pulled the data on state employee salaries from KansasOpenGov.org. While the site is operated by the Kansas Policy Institute, a free-market think tank that emphasizes small government and fiscal prudence, all the figures were compiled through information provided by the Kansas Department of Administration.

In all, only 46 of Kansas’ top 1,000 highest-paid state employees work somewhere other than a state university. That’s less than 5 percent.

After sorting the data by all salaries in excess of $100,000 annually, page after page reveal the consolidation of high wage positions at state higher education institutions. In fact, you’ll have to sift through 223 individuals – arranged in order of decreasing pay – before finding someone in a different state agency with such an impressive compensatory figure.

Breeze Richardson, associate director of communications and government relations for the Kansas Board of Regents, did not immediately respond Thursday to calls for comment from Kansas Watchdog.

Contact Travis Perry at travis@kansaswatchdog.org, or follow him on Twitter at @muckraker62. Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!

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Travis Perry is an investigative reporter covering news and politics for Watchdog.org's Kansas bureau. Before joining the organization, Travis graduated cum laude from Washburn University and cut his teeth as news editor for the Osawatomie Graphic, where he received numerous awards from the Kansas Press Association.

  • Chris

    These are some of the smartest and most influential people in the state. All have doctorates or more, conduct research and teach hundreds of students. I think they deserve to get paid a salary that matches their contributions to our state.

  • Tyler Thompson

    Chris is right on. PhD’s don’t come cheap, and they have a significant economic impact on the state.

  • Horace Stack

    It’s a travesty! Shut down all public universities and research centers! Students in Kansas should either aspire to be fry cooks or go to school in Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, or Colorado. Another option is to write for Kansas Watchdog, where education is not prerequisite to such fine commentary and journalism.

  • curious

    Show us the list of names and salaries, please.