FOX UNDERCOVER (MyFoxBoston.com) -- There's apparently little left of the thrifty Yankee sensibility when it comes to the state payroll, new figures for which show the number of six-figure earners leaped 17 percent this year.
The state's top executive – Gov. Deval Patrick – is also seeing some good financial news of his own, the payroll data shows. He accepted a 10 percent pay hike, sending his salary to $151,821. While the governor's pay is, like the Legislature's, set by statute, his pay raise comes after state officials decided they had miscalculated what he was due after Patrick declined statutory pay raises in 2007 and 2009.
Overall, the new payroll data, which was released to FOX Undercover following a public records request, shows 6,582 state workers now have a base pay of $100,000 or more, a 17 percent increase from 5,647 at the same time last year.
The numbers of the highest earners – those with a base pay of more than $200,000 – also rose. There are 198 state employees being paid more than $200,000 this year, a 7 percent jump from the 185 last year.
The amount that workers were actually paid last year – their base pay plus extras like overtime and bonuses, shows even more – 8,855 state workers -- took home a six-figure payday last year.
"It shows how out of control the state payroll has become," said former state Inspector General Gregory Sullivan, now with the Pioneer Institute. "The taxpayers are being asked to pay increased taxes to subsidize some very, very high salaries during a time of recession. I think it's time to put the brakes on the pay raises that have been rolling up the tax bill for Massachusetts taxpayers."
Public higher education, particularly the University of Massachusetts system, continues to dominate the top of the payroll heap.
The number one biggest earner on the payroll is UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael Collins, whose annual rate of pay is now $650,000, a 10 percent jump from last year's rate of $592,850.
But like many, Collins' base pay was far less than what he actually earned. The latest payroll data show Collins earned $816,602 last year, a year when his base pay was $592,850.
Out of the 100 biggest earners on the state payroll, 90 of them are from public higher education. Out of the 50 biggest, 46 of them are from the University of Massachusetts.
In all, there are 2,562 UMass employees earning six figures this year.
"Our salaries are established in relation to what people at comparable institutions are paid for doing comparable jobs. It's necessary that the salaries be competitive to attract and retain top faculty and staff," said UMass spokesperson Ann Scales.
In the embattled Department of Children of Families, 25 people make more than $100,000, including Commissioner Olga Roche, whose salary is $137,692.
The Massachusetts State Police, another department typically with high-paying employees, had 484 employees making six figures, a list topped by Col. Timothy Alben, who is earning $216,185 this year. The State Police did not respond to a request for comment.