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UMass staff dominates public salary list

Top 36 earners were employed by university

By Stephanie Ebbert
Globe Staff / February 11, 2012
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The University of Massachusetts again has the distinction of employing all but one of the state’s 50 highest-paid public workers, 2011 state records show.

The two top earners are Michael F. Collins, the University of Massachusetts Medical School chancellor, who made $761,314; and Terence R. Flotte, the medical school’s dean, who was paid $701,141.

Overall, 7,066 employees earned more than $100,000 last year. Three toll collectors earned more than $100,000, including one who earned $123,662. The number was higher than the 2010 tally of 6,400 public employees who earned more than $100,000.

The top 10 list in 2011 includes three UMass leaders who left their posts midyear.

Football coach Kevin P. Morris, fired last year, was the third-highest-paid state employee, taking home $664,446, according to data on the state’s online Open Checkbook.

Morris, who had been earning $200,000 a year as head coach, had two years left on his contract when he was fired in November by university officials, who cited his losing record and the team’s pending transition to a new conference and the Football Bowl Subdivison. Men’s basketball coach Derek Kellogg, who still works at the university, also was among the state’s top earners.

Donna Ambrosino, who as executive director of MassBiologics at the UMass Medical School was the state’s highest-paid employee in 2010, left that job in August 2011 but still ranked ninth in earnings for the year, with $502,991, according to the data and information from UMass Medical School spokesman Ed Keohane. Keohane noted that at the medical school, executive compensation does not come from taxpayers but from other sources, such as licensing and royalties.

UMass president emeritus Jack Wilson, who stepped down last June, was the state’s fifth-highest-paid employee last year, taking home $601,122, records show. That total reflected salary and investments that had to be cashed out when he left, said spokesman Robert Connolly. As the Globe has reported, Wilson continued to earn his $425,000 presidential salary while on a yearlong sabbatical, and will receive additional salary when he begins teaching at the university.

Dana A. Mohler-Faria, president of Bridgewater State University, was the only non-UMass employee among the top 50, ranking 37th with his pay of $284,750. But his 2011 salary ballooned with deferred payments from a raise that he had postponed until the university’s other collective bargaining agreements were settled, said spokesman Bryan Baldwin. Mohler-Faria’s salary is now $258,000.

All but 14 of the state’s 125 top earners work for UMass, with exceptions coming from the ranks of the State Police, and presidents at the Bunker Hill, Mount Wachusett, and Middlesex community colleges, Fitchburg State University, and Westfield State University, and a vice chancellor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Chief Medical Examiner Henry M. Nields ranked 57th, earning $253,461.

The next highest-paid workers include a number of state troopers and physician and psychiatric specialists for the Departments of Mental Health and Public Health.

The data do not include quasi-public agencies such as the Massachusetts Port Authority, which have given some of the most generous salary and benefit packages to public employees.

Governor Deval Patrick weighs in at 1,530th on the list of the state’s top earners, making $139,868, just behind the state’s chief human resources officer ($139,898), an electrical engineer for the Department of Transportation ($140,110) and Department of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach ($140,130).

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at ebbert@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieEbbert

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