Education

Coaches top list of best-paid Washington state employees

Washington State head coach Mike Leach speaks to reporters during NCAA college Pac-12 Football Media Days July 31, 2015, in Burbank, California.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach speaks to reporters during NCAA college Pac-12 Football Media Days July 31, 2015, in Burbank, California. The Associated Press

Washington State University football coach Mike Leach and University of Washington football coach Chris Petersen topped the list of salaries received by state employees last year.

Leach was paid $2.75 million, while Petersen made $2.686 million, according to the latest salary information on all state employees reported Wednesday by The Spokesman-Review of Spokane.

Leach and Petersen don’t get their paychecks from taxpayers. Athletic salaries at both universities come from ticket sales and television revenues, but they are funneled through the state.

The two football coaches are followed by Husky basketball coach Lorenzo Romar at $1.13 million and WSU basketball coach Ernie Kent at $1.05 million.

Scott Woodward, Husky athletic director, was fifth at almost $719,000. The late Elson Floyd, WSU president, was the highest paid non-athletic employee on the list. His $689,000 salary placed him between Woodward and WSU athletic director Bill Moos.

Only one person among the top 100 employees was not connected to UW or WSU. That’s Gary Bruebaker, the chief investment officer for the state investment board, who earned $509,000. Board salaries aren’t paid by taxpayers, either, but from net investment earnings.

Many top-paid university employees are researchers whose work is supported by government or industry grants, and their salaries don’t come from tax funds or tuition.

Of the 36 state employees who made more than $400,000, only seven were women, led by UW Vice President Johnese Spisso.

The salary figures are for 2014, so this year Spisso might be passed by Ana Mari Cauce, who was UW provost last year but was named interim president after Michael Young resigned in February to take a similar post at Texas A&M. Young made $600,750 last year in base salary.

Among elected officials, the nine members of the state Supreme Court were the highest paid. They were in a nine-way tie for 1,487th place with salaries of $169,188.

Gov. Jay Inslee makes $166,881, putting him in 1,557th place.

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