Longtime Georgia State President Mark Becker is ending his tenure in June, but he’ll leave on a high note in terms of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s regular review of state pay records.

Becker, who for more than a decade led a school that saw its enrollment grow to became the largest for any university in the state, was paid $2.8 million in fiscal 2020, according to the state’s Open Georgia salary website.

He was one of three university staffers to be paid more than $1 million in fiscal 2020, which ended June 30, just after state lawmakers cut state spending 10% in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Becker’s income was boosted by a University System of Georgia deferred compensation plan payment, money he received well before the pandemic. The system gives presidents such as Becker the payments for agreeing to remain in their jobs for a certain period of time.

Others who made just over $1 million were Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera and Fernando Vale Diaz, the neurosurgery chairman at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, according to the state site.

University of Georgia President Jere Morehead came in at $911,779, and Augusta University President Brooks Keel took in $899,000.

The highest paid non-university state employee was Charles Cary, chief investment officer of the Teachers Retirement System, at $980,883. Cary is traditionally at or near the top of the state pay list. The next two on the list are also TRS investment executives.

The top non-TRS staffer on the list was Griffith Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, at $828,887.

The only person on the top 10 list for state agencies who didn’t work for the TRS or the Ports Authority was University System Chancellor Steve Wrigley, who was paid $523,949 in fiscal 2020. Like Becker, Wrigley has announced he’s leaving his post this year, retiring July 1.

The list of top paid local school superintendents also didn’t change much, at least not at the top.

Longtime Gwinnett County Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks, who runs the biggest district in the state, was paid $621,036 in fiscal 2020, according to Open Georgia. Since-departed Atlanta City Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen was second, at $477,125, and Clayton County Superintendent Morcease Beasley placed third, at $436,655.

Million-dollar salaries

The state’s Open Georgia website reports that three people working in government received more than $1 million in pay during fiscal 2020, which ended June 30. All three are employees of the University System of Georgia.

  • Mark Becker, president of Georgia State University, $2,806,507
  • Angel Cabrera, president of Georgia Tech, $1,027,546
  • Fernando Vale Diaz, professor and chairman, department of neurosurgery, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, $1,012,500

Tops in pay

The top 10 pay recipients in the University System of Georgia, state government and school districts in fiscal 2020, and the positions they held at the time:

Universities

  • Mark Becker, president of Georgia State University, $2,806,507
  • Angel Cabrera, president of Georgia Tech, $1,027,546
  • Fernando Vale Diaz, professor and chairman, department of neurosurgery, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, $1,012,500
  • Richard Lee, professor and chief of the section of cardiothoracic surgery in the department of surgery, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, $967,500
  • Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia, $911,779
  • Brooks Keel, president of Augusta University, $899,325
  • Anastasios Polimenakos, chief of pediatric and congenital cardiothoracic surgery, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, $796,040
  • Scott Rahimi, professor and director of cerebrovascular and endovascular services, department of neurosurgery, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, $742,525
  • Daniel Albo, professor and director of surgical oncology service, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, $740,505
  • D. Monte Hunter, professor and chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, $731,203

State agencies

  • Charles Cary, chief investment officer, Teachers Retirement System, $980,883
  • Michael Majure, co-chief investment officer, Teachers Retirement System, $830,566
  • Thomas Horkan, co-chief investment officer, Teachers Retirement System, $830,566
  • Griffith Lynch, executive director, Georgia Ports Authority, $828,887
  • Clifford Pyron, chief commercial officer, Georgia Ports Authority, $707,994
  • Edward McCarthy, chief operating officer, Georgia Ports Authority, $689,828
  • Jimmie Russell Mincey, chief financial officer, Georgia Ports Authority, $622,725
  • James McCurry, chief administrative officer, Georgia Ports Authority, $570,921
  • Steve Wrigley, chancellor, University System of Georgia, $523,949
  • Lise Altman, chief human resources officer, Georgia Ports Authority, $450,568

School districts

  • Alvin Wilbanks, Gwinnett County superintendent, $621,036
  • Meria Carstarphen, Atlanta superintendent, $477,125
  • Morcease Beasley, Clayton County superintendent, $436,655
  • Christopher Ragsdale, Cobb County superintendent, $424,033
  • Curtis Jones, Bibb County superintendent, $418,612
  • Michael Looney, Fulton County superintendent, $402,932
  • Joseph Barrow, Fayette County superintendent, $370,375
  • Mark Albertus, Carrolton City superintendent, $354,950
  • Robert Green*, DeKalb County superintendent, $327,925
  • Ramona Tyson, also DeKalb County superintendent, $325,475

* Left school district in November 2019

Source: Open Georgia