Daily Chronicle: 580 state of Vermont employees earn more than $100,000

By Guy Page

580 employees of the state of Vermont annually earn more than $100,000.

The 10 best-paid state employees, as of Sept. 27 and according to publicly available data, are:

  • Steven Shapiro, Chief Medical Examiner, Dept. of Health, $195,042
  • Jonathan Strenio, Medicaid Medical Director, Vermont Health Access, $182,582
  • Philip Scott, Governor, $181,646.
  • Paul Reiber, Chief Justice, Judiciary, $174,824
  • Elizabeth Bundock, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Dept. of Health, $172,120
  • Beth Robinson, Associate Justice, Judiciary, $166,858
  • Brian Grearson, Chief Administrative Judge, Judiciary, $166,858
  • Patricia Gabel, State Court Administrator, Judiciary, $166,858
  • Harold Eaton Jr., Associate Justice, Judiciary, $166,858
  • Karen Carroll, Associate Justice, Judiciary, $166,858

The Chief Medical Examiner is a forensic pathologist leading Vermont’s statewide medical examiner system. The office performs several hundred autopsies per year and reviews paperwork of the roughly 5,000 deaths that occur in Vermont annually. Actual death investigation — for example, ascertaining cause of death at crime scenes and car crashes — relies on community-based death investigators coordinated through a central system led by the CME, the CME web page says.

As with many of the best-paying State of Vermont jobs, the job market offers (pardon the expression) stiff competition for the services of forensic pathologists. They can can earn up to $290,000, or even more. Medical, IT, health care, and legal professionals are similarly well-paid both in and outside of state government.

On the other end of the six-figure pay spectrum, Dept. of Financial Regulation insurance examiners Jennie Kerner and James Devoe-Talutto both earn $100,068. Also, a few highly skilled employees are paid better than the chief executives of the agencies, departments or offices for whom they work. All salary information in this article is publicly available on the State of Vermont website.

Most of the $150K+ employees are Superior or Supreme Court justices. Others earning above $150K include:

  • Anthony Roisman, Chair, Public Utilities Commission, $158,621
  • Kevin Mullin, Chair, Green Mountain Care Board, $158,621
  • Thomas Durkin, Environmental Judge, $158,621
  • Mark Levine, Commissioner, Dept. of Health, $155,730
  • Eric Henry, Principal Assistant, State Treasurer’s Office, $154,918
  • Tanya Elizabeth Morehouse, Chief Auditor, Auditor of Accounts’ Office, $152,568

Others include (in descending order of compensation):

  • Matthew Birmingham, Vermont State Police Colonel, $148,743
  • Linda Lambert, Dir, IT & Performance Audits, Auditor of Accounts’ Office, $146,973
  • Patsy Tassler Kelso, State Epidemiologist, $146,640
  • Jason Gibbs, Chief of Staff for Gov. Scott, $146,141
  • Nancy Hogue, Executive Director, Vermont Health Access, $145,080
  • Susanne Young, Administration Agency Secretary, $143,603
  • John Quinn III, Digital Services Agency Secretary, $143,603
  • Lindsay Kurrle, Secretary Agency of Commerce & Community Development, $143,603
  • Daniel French, Secretary Agency of Education, $143,603
  • Joseph Flynn, Secretary Agency of Transportation,  $143,603
  • Anson Tebbetts, Secretary  Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, 143,312
  • Julia Moore, Secretary of  Agency of Natural Resources, $143,312
  • Michael Schirling, Commissioner of Public Safety, $143,021
  • Stephanie Taylor Shaw, Executive Director, Mental Health, $141,773
  • Wayne Gammell, Director of AOT Finance & Administration, $139,672
  • Stephen Klein, Joint Fiscal Officer, $138,653
  • Thomas J. Donovan Jr., Attorney General, $137,883
  • Carol Hassler, Dir Child W/Spec. Health Need, Dept. of Health, $137,592
  • Cory Gustafson, Commissioner, Vermont Health Access, $135,221
  • Francis Reed, Director of Mental Health Services, $134,514

About five percent of Vermont State employees in the database earn more than $100,000. The average median household income for Vermonters is $57,513, according to Datausa. To view salaries of more than 10,361 Vermont State employees, click here.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports at the Vermont Daily Chronicle.

Image courtesy of Flickr/401kcalculator.org
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13 thoughts on “Daily Chronicle: 580 state of Vermont employees earn more than $100,000

  1. Oh, and by the way, there certainly is something you can do about it. Elect fiscally conservative problem solvers, write letters exposing these things, speak up. Apathy has caused the problem.

    • We can’t elect fiscally conservative problem solvers because the majority of Vermont voters rely on the State for their livelihood. We have, as I mentioned, a dysfunctional majority. Unless they see the light, the path we’re on will not change. And, in reality, its already too late. So you better buckle your seat belt and put your seat and tray table in the upright position.

  2. What stood out to me was that there are 55 supervisory unions in the state? Given that there are about 87,000 students in public school, that is 1 supervisory union for ever 1600 kids, or 4.5 schools. That simply isn’t sustainable or sensible. Each supervisory union office seems to have 10-20 employees. that doesn’t count the school based employees. And education is only mediocre. Why isn’t this an issue?

    • In reality, there are approximately 75,000 actual students in Vermont’s K-12 school supervisory unions. The higher enrollment number you cite is artificially inflated by the State’s so-called Equalized Student Enrollment methodolgy that counts certain students as being more than one. In some cases, the count inflates enrollments by as much as 50%.

  3. Now I can sleep nights knowing that these highly skilled, hard working beauricrats are well paid. Can’t understand why Scott’s Chief of Staff makes $40,000 less than the Gov. It’s comforting to note that the list isn’t longer.

  4. The question isn’t begrudging anyone from ‘making all they can when working’. The question is – are they worth the cost? As a private sector employer for 45 years and a former school board director, I can assure everyone that the cost/benefit analysis in a typical private sector business is virtually nonexistent in the Vermont bureaucracy – despite Auditor Hoffer’s occasional yet perfunctory assessments.

    Consider this:
    The Agency of Education alone has 147 employees earning, on average, more than $65,000 per year ($10 Million annually) ….not counting benefits and a largely under-funded defined benefits retirement package typically available after only 20-30 years of service.

    This is in addition to the 1103 Child Services employees earning, on average, $57,000 per year ($60 Million annually).

    And then there are the 55 School Supervisory Unions across the State, not to mention approximately 250 schools, each staffed with principals, administrators, teachers and myriad support staff (the highest staff to student ratio in the country).

    Meanwhile, half of Vermont’s high school graduates don’t meet grade level standards, opioid use is epidemic, suicide rates are on the increase, there are only 75,000 K-12 students in the state (and still declining), job growth and the labor force are flat.

    Now add all of the non-profit organizations (Vermont has more non-profits per capita than any other state) that serve (and I use the term loosely) Vermont’s children.

    The Vermont government alone, not counting the public schools, administrators and non-profit organizations, is the state’s 2nd largest employer (The University of Vermont is #1). The average employee is paid more than the state’s average household income (often including two wage earners). The state’s welfare cornucopia pays approximately $40,000/yr. per qualifying household.

    Is this sustainable? Not a chance.

    Worse: there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

    • What you’ve spoken about, but nobody has brought to light is the total pay of state and school workers. What an employer pays out for an employee is what the employee is paid. What many don’t know is the federal government takes money off the top that employees don’t even realize.

      Add to that if you don’t include benefits of the pay one is again committing gross negligence in the reporting of pay. This is standard operating practice for all government or state positions and does not reflect a true and honest accounting to the people of Vermont and even to those recieving the benefits.

      People should receive and the accounting should reflect all the pay earned in the year it was earned, make no promises we can’t keep. Transparency and accuracy for all.

      • Neil, your generalization is a bit inaccurate. Where do you draw the line on what qualifies as an employee benefit?

        For example, not only does the State provide a healthcare and life insurance benefit, it pays a share of the employee’s FICA (Social Security) and Medicare assessments, it pays worker’s compensation coverage premiums (health and disability insurance) that overlap with the personal healthcare and disability benefits, and it pays unemployment insurance premiums that pay the employee if employment is terminated. In addition, there are human resource expenses, physical plant/office expenses, food and travel expenses, and various other reimbursements for personal purchases relating to the employment.

        In general, in my business experience, the cost of employment is approximately 2 times the paid wage. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb when doing cost/benefit analysis, if the average State wage for an AOE employee is $65,000 per year, the AOE is likely realizing total costs in excess of $130,000 per year as a direct result of that employment.

    • The point is, if there are 10,000 government employees, how many family members are there that will also be inclined to vote to perpetuate the institution that employs them? Now add colleges, public and independent (UVM, for example, is the State’s largest employer), all local school district employees (and their families), the non-profit employees (and their families), the healthcare providers (and their families), and welfare recipients (and their families), all of whom rely on the government for their livelihoods – not to mention the legislators and the special interest groups funding them.

      What we have is a dysfunctional majority, which is why there is nothing the rest of us can do to but prepare for the inevitable bankruptcy of the State. And it is inevitable.

      As Ernest Hemingway said when asked “How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

  5. In Vermont if you desire to have a good living, work in Government. Job security, benefits, etc. The VT school system is expensive to fund those employees and they want more. The VT government is a large employer. The Bern never had a paid job outside government. He’s smart, get elected to government positions: mayor, legislature & a Senator. Then run for president 2X.

    That’s how you become a millionaire and afford three properties / homes.
    Why does a person need three homes? Yet shepople will still vote to keep him in money at their expense.

  6. Good for them, I have never begrudged anyone from making all they can when working !!

    Where I have a problem, is there ” Retirement Benefit ” packages, that are pretty well over
    the norm compared to the average worker’s, who’s paying there wages & benefits.

    And this is why the state has an ” Unfunded Liabilities ” problem, that will always be a burden
    to taxpayers, and I’m not even talking about ” Teachers ” unfunded liabilities another issue for
    a later date.

    Our inept leadership has ” No ” clue how to resolve these unfunded liabilities that just multiply
    year after year.

    Taxpayers you will be funding it, one way or another due to Vermont’s Progressive DemocRAT
    Tax Initiatives.

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