Doctors top Ohio’s top-paid state worker list

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Doctors top Ohio’s top-paid state worker list

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Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is the highest-paid elected official in state government. She made $165,000 last year.

The top paid state workers who each grossed more than $250,000 in 2016 are all doctors working in Ohio’s prisons or mental health systems, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was spent a chunk of last year campaigning for president, didn’t even crack the top 150 paid state workers. Kasich, who was paid $148,316, came in 187th — behind even some of his own cabinet members and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is also insurance director.

Kasich was the top paid person in his own office, largely because his chief of staff, Beth Hansen, who makes $90.18 per hour, took a leave of absence last year to work on Kasich’s presidential campaign.

The top paid elected official is Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who made $165,884.

In the legislative branch, former Senate president Keith Faber, R-Celina, made $100,937 while House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, was paid $99,437.

Aside from the governor, the statewide officeholders are all paid the same: $109,564. But they each had staff members who exceeded that. Treasurer Josh Mandel’s top paid worker is Seth Metcalf at $214,742. Secretary of State Jon Husted’s highest paid staffer is Matt Damschroder at $146,415 while Attorney General Mike DeWine’s top lieutenant is Mary Mertz at $146,256 and Auditor Dave Yost’s highest paid employee is Robert Hinkle at $141,841.

The total employee count at the end of 2016 hit 52,238, up slightly over 51,806 in 2015 but down from 55,442 in 2011, which was Kasich’s first year as governor. All told, the state’s payroll was $3.12 billion, up 3.3 percent over 2015. Most state workers received a 2.5 percent wage increase in July.

Overtime totaled $123.2 million, up 18.5 percent over 2015.

The top earners are paid extra money through “on duty” pay but the highest earner of time-and-a-half overtime was Felicia Nnadi, a nurse with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. She raked in $221,464 in gross pay, including $133,406 in overtime.

The highest paid worker, again, was Zinovi Goubar, a psychiatrist for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. He made more than half of his $483,796 gross wages in “on duty” pay. He had the highest gross pay in 2015 as well.

The 2016 payroll data for any state worker who made more than $50,000 can be searched here. DAS officials announced that the records are now available online through the state’s interactive budget website so the report will no longer be produced.

The state of Ohio’s largest and most expensive departments by payroll and headcount are DRC and transportation. The prison system employs 13,343 workers at an annual payroll of $684.3 million while Ohio Department of Transportation has 6,498 workers at a cost of $330.8 million.

The state employs a wide array of professionals: prison guards, college interns, doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, scientists, auditors and more.

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