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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 be breaking out stories on state and city departments in the coming weeks. Today: State employees, except for those working in education, which we’ll report on separately.
It pays to be in public health — a lot, at least for those at the top.
The state could hire 30 office clerks for the price of one top surgeon. Or four judges for one staff physician.
Being male certainly doesn’t hurt either. Only six of the top 25 highest-paid doctors in Hawaii Health Systems Corp., the state’s public hospital system, are women — and none are in the top quarter percentile earning more than $600,000 a year.
Doctors are the top earners when it comes to state employees in Hawaii.
In response to an open-records request, state agencies provided salary ranges for nearly 21,000 state employees, including the Judiciary, HHSC, the Legislature, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and 19 state departments. The data is for fiscal 2016, which began July 1.
This data doesn’t include the Department of Education, which has well over 22,000 employees, or the University of Hawaii. Civil Beat will be reporting on those separately.
Last month, we published salary information for 9,333 employees of the City and County of Honolulu. You can read that report here.
In this batch of state employees, all but one of the top 40 highest-paid workers were in public health. The lone exception was George Szigeti, executive director of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, who earned a salary of $270,000.
There are a couple of dozen physicians making between $300,000 and $780,000, and a few hundred nurses earning $90,000 to $120,000 a year.
At least 556 people made a salary of $100,000 or more, which means 20,196 workers made less than that.
Judge is another top-tier position. Roughly 30 Circuit Court judges earn $193,248 annually, and another 30-plus District Court judges each make $182,112.
The state Supreme Court offers the highest pay. Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald earned $222,480 in 2015, just a bit higher than the other four justices.
The head of the state executive branch, Gov. David Ige, received a salary of $149,556 in 2015.
The 76 state lawmakers who decide how much money to appropriate for the vast majority of state jobs each earned $59,004 last fiscal year, save for the head of the Senate and House, who each made $66,504.
Knowing how much state employees earn provides greater government transparency and helps the public decide if the state is spending its taxpayer dollars wisely. This is one of Civil Beat’s primary missions and the reason we are publishing the state salary database again this year.
As former Civil Beat editor John Temple wrote in 2010, the first year we published the salaries, “providing data on how government works is central to our commitment to helping you understand local issues, including how government operates and how much it costs.” The more people know, the better.
Here’s a look at the top 25 highest-paid state officials as of last July 1, not counting UH or DOE.