MSH's Stephens is top-paid state employee
List does not include university employees
Monday, December 20, 2010 10:00 AM
Peggy Stephens, superintendent and medical director of the Madison State Hospital, is the highest paid non-university state employee in Indiana.
Among the best paid
Here is a sampling of salaries for significant state posts in 2010:
$243,500: Top-paid employee is Peggy Stephens - Madison State Hospital superintendent
$155,000: Top-paid non-doctor is Teresa Lubbers - Commission for Higher Education chief
$153,800: Highest-paid state employee in legislative branch is Jeff Papa - Senate chief of staff and chief legal counsel
$151,300: Salary for state's five Supreme Court justices
$150,000: Highest-paid agency head is Mitch Roob - head of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
$147,100: Salary for state's 15 Court of Appeals judges
$130,600: Pay for Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell
$126,000: Annual salary for head of Indiana Office of Budget and Management Chris Ruhl
$95,000: Gov. Mitch Daniels' salary
Source: State auditor
Stephens is paid $243,000 for both jobs.
Some of the highest paid state employees in Indiana are earning those top wages after having combined several jobs into one, an analysis by the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette shows.
Stephens, a former Harvard University faculty member is responsible for the care of more than 150 patients and supervises a dozen doctors. She was among several physicians at various state hospitals near the top of the salary list.
"Indiana is paying more competitively because the state has struggled to get competent specialists in the state hospital system," Stephens said. "I actually save the state money because they don't have to pay two salaries and benefits."
Jeff Papa, the Indiana Senate's chief of staff, earns about $153,000, the highest salary in the legislative branch and among the top 20 of all state employees.
Papa's boss, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Papa's position is actually several jobs in one and includes being chief legal counsel for the chamber and managing day-to-day staffing.
"I think we get a lot more bang for the buck with him," Long said. "On the surface, it looks high, but it is basically saving taxpayer dollars compared to the old system."
The Journal Gazette said its analysis did not include public university employees because their salaries are not paid solely with state funds.
Gov. Mitch Daniels' salary of about $95,000 is lower than those of hundreds of other state employees, including trial judges.
The highest-paid employee not working at a state hospital is Teresa Lubbers, who receives $155,000 annually as Indiana's commissioner for higher education. That is less than her predecessor, Stan Jones, who had been in the position for more than 10 years.
The commission approves all degrees and programs and makes budget recommendations for the state's public higher-education institutions and the state's scholarship program.
Lawmakers in 2010 on average made about $51,000, up from about $40,000 in 2006, before a pay raise.
Currently, all lawmakers get a base salary of $22,600. They receive bonuses if they hold leadership positions or lead committees.
While in session, all 150 lawmakers get $155 in per diem seven days a week for food and lodging. When not in session, lawmakers receive $62 in expenses every day, more if they're in Indianapolis attending a legislative meeting or tending to other state business.
"It's always tough to try to set salaries for public officials," said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. "You have to make them high enough that regular people can do the work and not just the independently wealthy, and yet still be frugal with taxpayers' money."
Bosma defended the jump in overall pay, noting that lawmakers had not received an increase in base salary for 25 years. He said that at the same time the pay went up, legislators agreed
Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, said the pay is too high. He voted against the raise.
"It seems high for a part-time job," he said. "I think we'd attract the same-quality legislator for about $10,000 less."
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