Highest state salaries not found in Hampton Roads

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by David Alan

WVEC.com

Posted on November 4, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 2:14 PM

Governor Bob McDonnell may be the state’s chief executive, but his $175 thousand dollar a year salary is nowhere near the top of the list of the state’s highest paid workers.

State records show more than 30 people, in part paid by taxpayers, who make more than $300 thousand dollars a year. At the top of the list is U-VA Executive Vice President, Arthur Garson who makes $706 thousand dollar a year. Not far behind is the school’s president at $487 thousand.

“That’s pretty ridiculous,” Alex Smalley a Christopher Newport University student told us.

“I think if he’s doing a good job, I think he deserves the money,” Al Moliken said about some of the state’s highest paid workers.

In 2007, George Mason University felt is men’s basketball coach Jim Larranaga deserved a 28-percent raise. His yearly salary is $615 thousand, making him the second-highest paid state employee.

Two U-VA football assistants also are among the state’s highest paid each, bringing home in the neighborhood of $400 thousand a year.

What’s missing from the list? Some say given the population of Hampton Roads and the economy it produces, not one school president, professor, or coach from ODU, or Norfolk State is among the state’s highest paid.

“If you got that list from any other state, you would see the population centers represented fairly evenly,” CNU government professor Quentin Kidd told us.

ODU president John Broderick’s $312 thousand a year salary is a lot less than the $487 thousand dollars U-VA pays its president.

The Provost of William and Mary makes $338 thousand dollars a year, the only top state salary in Hampton Roads.

The highest paid person in the math department at Virginia Tech reportedly makes $255 thousand. At Christopher Newport University it’s $111 thousand.

“Hampton Roads, like other areas like transportation, seems to be left out of the money,” Kidd says.

State Senator John Miller says in recent years, local schools have seen bigger increases in funding percentage-wise than the state’s larger schools. Miller says construction at CNU is just one example of the progress that’s being made.  What local schools are lacking, Miller says, is clout.

“They don’t have the alumni base to help lobby that the other schools do, so that puts them at a disadvantage," Miller added.

We found friends in high places may make a difference. 46 members of the General Assembly have ties to U-VA, Tech and VCU. Those school combined will get more than $475 million dollars in state funding next year compared to the $170 million schools in Hampton Roads will get.

Quentin Kidd says communities with vibrant universities are better for it. He says there’s a reason California’s Silicon Valley started where it did, in the shadows of Stanford and UC Berkley.

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