University Presidents Dominate Top-Paid Virginia State Employees


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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Six out of 10 of the highest-paid Virginia state employees hail from academia, and all make over $600,000.

Five university presidents and one university lecturer comprise six out of the top 10 earners on a list of Virginia state employees obtained by The Cavalier Daily, UVA’s student newspaper.

The top ten include: Michael Rao, president of Virginia Commonwealth University; Paul Trible, president of Christopher Newport University; Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia; Timothy Sands, president of Virginia Tech; Angela Cabrera, president of George Mason University.

Rao, Trible, Sullivan, Sands, and Cabrera earned $900,940, $844,245, $733,800, $717,500, and $664,881, respectively, for the year of 2015-2016.

Charles Phlegar, a Virginia Tech lecturer, finishes out the bottom of the top 10, with a salary of $635,000.

Seventeen out of the 25 top-paid Virginia state employees also obtain their pay at academic institutions, with workers at the Virginia Retirement System accounting for the other eight.

“The proportion of pay coming from various sources [for university presidents] will depend on the contracts as negotiated,” Gregory Weatherford, communications and outreach associate at State Council for Higher Education Virginia, told The Cavalier Daily. “The state does not set these salaries; nor does SCHEV in particular. It is worth noting that most presidents are paid from tuition and other income raised by the universities – not from tax dollars.”

In 39 states, the top-paid public employee is a men’s basketball coach or football coach, according to The Business Insider. While University of Virginia’s basketball and football coaches sit at number 16 and 23 on the top public earnings, respectively, reaping salaries of $550,000 and $500,000, the half-million only accounts for the base pay of the football coach’s salary. UVA gives him an additional $2.86 million.

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