More than 450 state employees have six-figure salaries

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The number of state employees who earned more than $100,000 last year is more than four times as large as it was eight years ago, according to a newspaper's analysis of state payroll records.
The Columbus Dispatch said Sunday that 457 state employees made six-figure salaries last year, compared with 109 in 1994. The newspaper analyzed 72,850 non-university state payroll records from 2002.
Gov. Bob Taft, who earns $130,786 annually, was the 94th highest-paid state employee. Eight years ago, 14 employees made more than then-Gov. George Voinovich, who now is a U.S. senator.
Taft spokesman Orest Holubec said the state must offer "competitive salaries to attract top talent" for many positions.
"These are all individuals in public service who are frequently making less than their counterparts in the private sector," Holubec said.
Of the 100 highest-paid employees last year, 72 were doctors and psychiatrists in state prisons or facilities for the mentally ill, mentally retarded and developmentally disabled. That has been the trend for several years.
The state's highest-paid employee last year was Dr. Ki M. Hong, a psychiatrist at an Ohio Department of Mental Health center in Northfield.
Hong received $217,104 in gross salary, including $15,558 in paid vacations and $3,395 in sick-leave costs. Part of Hong's pay came from on-call hours when he was available to be called to work but not necessarily there.

Department spokesman Sam Hibbs defended the salaries paid to psychiatrists.

"Our hospitals care for the more seriously and acutely mentally ill people in the state. Therefore, we must have qualified people. The marketplace is competitive. The salaries we pay are competitive and no more," he said.
Hibbs also said the agency has reduced its total payroll by cutting staff from 5,300 employees in 1991 to 2,000 today.
Roderick Chu, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, ranked fourth on the overall list. Chu was paid $211,385, including a $6,000 annual car allowance.
State schools Superintendent Susan T. Zelman made $199,578, ranking her eighth overall.
Chief Justice Thomas Moyer of the Ohio Supreme Court was 88th at $132,649.
Several state employees racked up huge amounts of pay for compensatory time taken off for extra hours they worked.
Eric Brown, a former senior assistant attorney general, had the most compensatory time in state government -- $34,027.
Leading the state in overtime hours were Maurice Franck and Bart Martelli, who worked as nurses at Frazier Hospital at the Orient prison complex before transferring to the Corrections Medical Center, south of Columbus.
Franck had 1,809 hours and Martelli 1,711 hours in overtime. A state employee's regular full year totals 2,080 hours.
Franck received $81,311 of his $153,472 salary in overtime.
Martelli made $76,294 in overtime as part of his $142,108 salary.
Prison officials said the two men were able to work so much overtime because there is a nursing shortage in Ohio and nationwide.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)