Who’s the highest paid NYS public employee?

highestpaidpublicemployeesaYou may have heard that the highest-paid employee in each state is usually the football coach at the largest state school.







This is actually a gross mischaracterization: Sometimes it is the basketball coach.

So begins Reuben Fischer-Baum’s infographic blogpost about public salaries across the country. You can see from Reuben’s map that both NYS and VT are part of that minority of ten states in which the highest public employee is either a public college dean or president.

This all reminds me of conversations I had as a teenager with my mother who shook her head at the imbalance in salaries across our society, and gasped with disbelief about the difference in, say, an actor’s salary and the pittance earned by a coal miner or family farmer. These are not publicly funded positions, but I think  her concern is still relevant–it recognizes the peculiar value structure in our society, a value structure we’re all buying into when athletic coaches rank among the highest paid public employees.

So, who do you think should be the highest paid public employee in New York State or Vermont?


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7 Comments on “Who’s the highest paid NYS public employee?”

  1. Jim Bullard says:

    That’s because in a capitalist system it is all about money, not the social value of what the worker does. The most extreme example are financial markets where traders can earn hundreds of millions trading securities, an activity that produces no goods or services but inflates the perceived value of the things that are traded.

  2. It's Still All Bush's Fault says:

    It’s not surprising, college football and basketball generate a considerable amount of revenue for the institutions. These two sports also provide an opportunity for many youths to gain a college degree by means of scholarships. Without the scholarships, many might not be able to afford to go to college.

  3. Scott Morgan says:

    One thing to keep in mind: The athletics departments of big state universities produce income which offsets the big salaries. I remember there being a big media focus on Jim Calhoun at UConn and the amount of money the basketball team brings in far exceeds his salary.

  4. Josh says:

    A medical school dean is pretty much optimal in terms of a public employee. What is more important than the combination of a doctor and a teacher?

  5. Ellen Rocco says:

    Actually, Scott, if you click on the link to the original full blog post about this map, you’ll see that Reuben deconstructs the notion that there’s a direct payback to the public through the work of highly paid coaches.

  6. Ditto Ellen. The myth of big time college sports largesse has been debunked repeatedly… along with the notion that big-time college football and basketball players are expected to be anything other than full-time athletes.

  7. I guess this is one thing that NYS actually got right: preventing its universities from becoming de facto minor league sports factories.

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