PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The number of state workers making $100,000 or more has increased over the last four years, a Target 12 review of payroll data reveals.
According to information provided by the R.I. Department of Administration, 1,545 state workers made $100,000 or more in the 2012 fiscal year. That's up from 1,145 in 2010 and 977 back in 2008.
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Gov. Lincoln Chafee said a shrinking state workforce is causing a spike in overtime.
"More people make over $100,000 based on overtime, but the good part is with fewer employees you pay less in benefits," Chafee said. "Sometimes you have to calculate whether there is an overall savings of [fewer] benefits, which includes pensions and healthcare."
Records show the state's full- and part-time staff has shrunk from roughly 18,000 workers in 2008 to just over 17,000 in fiscal 2012.
State budget officials say three departments make up the lion's share of overtime costs: the Department of Corrections, the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) and the Department of Children Youth and Family Services.
Payroll data shows six of the top 10 highest-paid state employees are healthcare professionals for BHDDH, taking in more than $200,000 in gross pay. Five of the six making more than $100,000 in overtime alone.
Three agencies represent two-thirds of the state's total overtime costs, according to Peter Marino, the director of the state's new Office of Management and Budget.
"Overtime costs have increased eight percent since 2008," Marino said. "The other piece about overtime is that, per contract, usually it's the most senior person on staff that has the most access to overtime ... and the most senior person on staff [usually] has a higher income."
Marino said the state prison system takes the largest chunk of overtime in the state.
The Target 12 review shows the bottom line on the state payroll has been on the rise despite a shrinking workforce. Figures show the state's gross payroll was $990 million in 2012, up from $877 million in 2008. Those figures do not include the cost of benefits.
"These are the things we look at, the balance between fewer employees and overtime costs, savings on pensions and health care, and just making sure we're not overworking people," Chafee said.
The average state worker made $58,260, according to 2012 payroll data, while the average private-sector worker in Rhode Island makes $46,176, according to the most recent figures from the Department of Labor and Training.
The highest paid state employee in fiscal 2012 was Dr. David Dooley, president of the University of Rhode Island, who made $332,308.
Copyright WPRI 12
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