Texas public sector workers are having it good right now.
In 2019, 78,064 state and local government employees received over 100,000 each. According to a report from Forbes, “18,600 of them out-earned Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who made $153,750.”
The auditors at OpentheBooks.com discovered that the speech writers for university presidents make up to $140,000. In addition, library directors were raking in $202,875, while community college presidents pulled in a cool $505,000. City managers topped the list by earning a lavish $1.85 million during the last three years.
On top of that, this study discovered that 19,519 federal bureaucrats situated in Texas made six figures or higher. These pampered state employees put taxpayers on the hook for $2.5 billion in 2018
Of the highest paid state employees in 2018, Sheryl Sculley ($574,594) the San Antonio city manager at the time, was in the number one spot for compensation. Sculley’s base salary was $467,789 in addition to a $106,805 bonus. The library director earned $202,875.
Angry voters took to the ballot box in 2019, and voted for an initiative to place limits on city manager compensation and term limits on employment to eight years.
Other Texas cities have not followed suit.
From 2017 to 2019, Laredo dropped $1.85 million into the city’s manager position. Horacio de Leon was paid $880,486 in 2019 and $314,556 in 2018. The city manager that came before de Leon, Jesus Olivares, received $651,867 in compensation, which included $278,028 in severance pay.
The Forbes report highlighted the following numbers regarding city manager pay:
Top-paid city managers included Peter Vargas ($433,842 Allen); T.C. Broadnax ($410,692 Dallas); Spencer Cronk ($378,071 Austin); Bruce Glasscock ($374,537 Plano); Daniel Johnson ($357,744 Richardson); David Cooke ($348,730 Fort Worth); Tomas Gonzalez ($340,746 El Paso); and Robert Wood ($319,946 West Lake Hills).
El Paso city manager Tomas Gonzalez made a hefty $340,746 which is higher than what every four-star general in the U.S. military made in 2019 ($268,332)
The general manager of Austin Energy, Jaqueline Sargent, made $419,942. Two employees of Garland Power & Light received over $412,000 in compensation last year.
Big name executives in Dallas were able to secure lucrative pay raises. For example, in 2011, the Dallas city manager made $265,617. However, in 2019, that total increased by 53 percent to $410,692. Similarly, the top assistant city manager in 2011 made $198,048, but the position made $289,001 in 2019, which represents a 46 percent increase.
About 9,000 Texas public school administrators, athletic directors, teachers, and other employees received six-figure salaries in 2019 and put taxpayers on the hook for $1.1 billion. Approximately 1,000 teachers and administrators earned more than the governor ($153,750)..
In the Office of the Governor, 48 employees are living it up on six-figure salaries and eleven earned more than their boss ($153,750). Of these lavishly compensated government workers, were four deputy directors who pocketed $265,000 each. Additionally, when compared to the other 50 states. the Texas governor’s office has the largest number of staff at 277.
College football is one of Texas’ most lucrative endeavors. Head coaches in the Lone Star State are bringing home big bucks.
The Forbes report noted the following coaches’ salaries:
Jimbo Fisher ($5.15 million Texas A&M); Tom Herman ($4.72 million University of Texas (UT)); Dana Holgorsen ($3.7 million University of Houston).
UT Austin employs 3,441 six-figure employees for a total of $618 million in compensation. Some of the high earners include Matthew Kivel, the president’s speech writer ($140,105), Gary Susswien, chief communications officer ($251,913); and Edmund Gordon, a diversity provost ($280,532).
In the Texas A&M University system, there are 3,902 six-figure employees, which put 2019 compensation numbers at $626 million according to a 2019 report. Through the CARES Act, the university was able to receive $82 million in Wuhan virus bailout funds despite resting on a $13.5 billion endowment.
The fiscal situation in Texas is not so bright. According to figures from Truth in Accounting, the state currently has $99 billion dollars in debt, which puts per capita debt in the Lone Star State at $3,413 per person. On the other hand, Florida has only $12 billion in debt and a $600 per person debt burden.
Although the fiscal situation could be worse, Texas policymakers should be proactive in trying to contain government largesse, especially in a time when millions of people have unstable economic prospects.
Having a public sector caste making bucks while regular Texans suffer is a recipe for political unrest.