Editor’s Note: Our popular public employees salaries database is back. This year, we’ve combined all agencies in a single database; but we’ll still break out stories on state and city departments in the coming weeks. Today: the University of Hawaii system.
With a salary of $550,008, head football coach Norm Chow was the highest-paid employee of the University of Hawaii system when the current fiscal year began last July.
That’s hardly surprising. Across much of America, the head football coach of the biggest public university is the state’s highest-paid public employee, period.
In a sign that football doesn’t reign supreme in the islands, the highest-paid public employees here work in public health.
Besides, Chow was fired last November as UH football losses piled up and Aloha Stadium turned almost funereal on game days. In his most recent public performance, the somber-faced ex-coach was downright comedic as a florist shop boss in a TV commercial for the Altres employment agency.
At $400,008, new football coach Nick Rolovich isn’t even the highest-paid UH employee. That would be Jerris Hedges, dean of medicine at the Manoa campus, who earns $505,008.
Knowing how much state employees earn provides greater government transparency and helps the public decide whether taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.
In response to Civil Beat’s request, government agencies provided salary ranges for tens of thousands of public employees. Previous articles focused on the City and County of Honolulu and on state government outside of education.
The massive database can be searched by department, name, job title or salary range. (Department of Education salaries are also searchable by district or location.) To find the highest-paid employees, type in a starting salary figure of, say, $100,000 for a given department. But to understand the big picture of public employee compensation, you might want to look at the lower-end salaries as well.
Two members of the Top 25 are examples of landing on your feet after being fired or forced to resign.
The chart below identifies the 25 highest-paid employees in the University of Hawaii system as of July 1. It includes deans and other top administrators, researchers, longtime professors and a couple of astronomers.
Two members of the Top 25 are examples of landing on your feet after being fired or forced to resign:
The highest-paid employee at UH Hilo was the dean of the College of Pharmacy, John Pezzuto, $341,568.
No one from UH West Oahu or the seven community colleges in the UH system made the Top 25. The pay of community college chancellors ranged from $154,032 to $169,152, while the UH West Oahu chancellor, Rockne Freitas, made $238,000.
As for those sports figures, in addition to the now-departed Chow, UH Manoa Athletic Director David Matlin checks in at No. 20 on the Top 25, earning $290,016. Football coach Rolovich is too new to make the list.
In some states, the head men’s basketball coach is the highest-paid public employee. At UH Manoa, Eran Ganot makes about $200,000 a year, according to the Star-Advertister (the salary range for this position is a staggeringly wide $185,000- $400,000).
Women’s basketball coach Laura Beeman received a contract extension last December and now makes about $160,000, while legendary women’s volleyball coach Dave Shoji recently negotiated a contract extension that presumably increased the $179,328 he was making, the Star-Advertiser reported.
Shoji’s old salary, by the way, was 25 percent higher than the salary range maximum you’ll find in the database, thanks to a so-called “special salary adjustment.”
Here’s a look at the top 25 highest-paid employees in the University of Hawaii system as of last July 1: