News Analysis: The Full Facts on Public Sector Pay in Massachusetts
A perennial target of their detractors, Massachusetts state public sector workers are no strangers to having their salaries scrutinized. Attention often focuses on the top pay received by a few in chief public sector jobs, but what about the vast majority of employees who are working hard and don’t earn the big bucks? Open Media Boston brings you the full facts in a snapshot of state public sector pay in 2012.
Research by Open Media Boston has found that over 92 precent of all state public sector workers in the Bay State earned less than $100,000 a year, based on data received by the Boston Herald through the state’s Public Records law and made available online. Out of over 98,000 workers in total that means a full 91,000. Only a further roughly 7,500, or 7.8 percent, earned more than $100,000 in the public sector that year.
Here’s how that data breaks down: the Commonwealth paid 13,500 workers less than $20K. Just under 16,000 earned between $20,000 and $40,000 a year, while over 26,000 workers earned between $40,000 and $60,000. The state paid 25,000 of its employees between $60,000 and $80,000 a year, and just under 10,500 workers received a salary of between $80K and $100K. Out of the minority of high-earning employees compensated at over $100K, the bulk or nearly 7 and a half thousand earned less than $200K. Just 200 top public sector employees plus earned between $200K and a shocking $800K.
Research also found that the average salary for all state public sector workers in Massachusetts is just over $56,000 a year based on 2012 figures. Using a random sample of approximately one-fifth of all employees, figures from the state government’s Open CheckBook reveal those earning less than $100,000 a year received an average salary of $51,000. Those earning more than $100,000 a year earned an average salary of $127,000.
There were more top earners at the University of Massachusetts in 2012 than any other state body, and there were nearly double the state average of employees earning over $100,000. Those employees were compensated at an average of $138,000 a year, more than $10,000 above the state average. As for the overall top public sector earners, figures show that the Chancellor of UMass Medical School Michael Collins received an astronomical $784,000 a year. Following close behind, Dean of UMass Medical School Terence Flotte got a staggering $712,000. Also at UMass, the Associate Dean for the College of Natural Sciences Derek Lovley earned $660,000, and the Head Basketball Coach Derek Kellogg earned $628,000.
But that’s not the whole story for UMass, where state employees are also earning less than the average state pay. Using a large sample, figures from Open CheckBook show that the average salary was $58,000 a year for all the university’s workers. While close to the state average, the larger number of higher earners at UMass was offset by lower wages for the rest of the workers. The average salary for those compensated less than $100,000 a year, 86 percent of UMass employees, is fully $5,000 less than the state average bringing it in at just under $46,000 a year.
While the ideological battle over public sector pay will continue nevertheless, particularly in an economic downturn, Open Media Boston provides the full picture unfiltered. It’s obvious that there are a small number of state employees in receipt of exorbitant salaries, but the vast majority of the state’s public sector employees’ earnings fall far short of the outrageous sums attributed to them by some.