Thanks to a strong economy and federal spending, Georgia ended the most recently completed fiscal year with a record surplus, and some of its leaders had a good year as well.
At least nine state employees — from professors and coaches to pension fund investors — made more than $1 million during fiscal 2021, according to the state’s Open Georgia salary website.
That came in a fiscal year — which ended June 30 — during which most state employees didn’t get a pay raise.
The public is used to football coaches earning big money — University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart made $6.9 million in fiscal 2021, according to Open Georgia, and Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins $3.5 million.
Charles Cary, longtime chief investment officer at the Teachers Retirement System, was paid $1,018,238, up from $980,000 the previous year. The TRS had a big year in fiscal 2021 because the stock market skyrocketed, topping $100 billion in assets.
Other $1 million noncoaches, according to Open Georgia, were James D. St. Louis, chief of pediatric and congenital heart surgery at Augusta University, $1.35 million; and Richard Lee, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Augusta University, $1.2 million.
Two others came close: Fernando Vale Diaz, neurosurgery chairman at Augusta University, $985,500; and Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera, $975,000.
Two top 10 names traditionally on the annual Atlanta Journal-Constitution list are no longer in their jobs. University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley, who was paid $524,000 in fiscal 2021, retired. And the Gwinnett County school board decided not to renew the contract of Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks, who led the largest school system in the state for 25 years. Wilbanks was the highest-paid local superintendent in the state, earning $642,000 in fiscal 2021, according to Open Georgia.
Tops in pay
The top 10 pay recipients in the University System of Georgia, state government and school districts in fiscal 2021, and the positions they held at the time. Some have since retired or taken other jobs.
- Kirby Smart, head football coach, University of Georgia, $6.9 million
- Geoff Collins, health football coach, Georgia Tech, $3.52 million
- Tom Crean, head basketball coach, UGA, $3.2 million
- Josh Pastner, head basketball coach, Georgia Tech, $2 million
- Dan Lanning, defensive coordinator, football coach, UGA, $1.49 million
- James D. St. Louis, chief of pediatric and congenital heart surgery at Augusta University, $1.35 million
- Richard Lee, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Augusta University, $1.2 million.
- Todd Monken, offensive coordinator, football coach, UGA, $1.1 million
- Fernando Vale Diaz, neurosurgery chairman at Augusta University, $985,500
- Angel Cabrera, president, Georgia Institute of Technology, $975,000
- Charles Cary, chief investment officer, Teachers Retirement System, $1,018,238
- Griffith Lynch, executive director, Georgia Ports Authority, $873,698
- Michael Majure, co-chief investment officer, Teachers Retirement System, $862,200
- Thomas Horkan, co-chief investment officer, Teachers Retirement System, $862, 200
- Steve Wrigley, chancellor, University System of Georgia, $523,924
- Clifford Pyron, chief commercial officer, Georgia Ports Authority, $498,680
- Edward McCarthy, chief operating officer, Georgia Ports Authority, $492,066
- Clanton Shipp, co-director of equities, Teachers Retirement System, $452,248
- Matthew Wolfersberger, co-director of equities, Teachers Retirement System, $439,143
- Bambang Cahyono, director of alternative investments, Teachers Retirement System, $436,833
- Alvin Wilbanks, Gwinnett County superintendent, $641,955
- Richard Townsend, Pickens County superintendent, $507,659
- Morcease Beasley, Clayton County superintendent, $440,566
- Christopher Ragsdale, Cobb County superintendent, $432,105
- Demond Means, Clarke County superintendent, $418,058
- David Dude, city of Decatur schools superintendent, $411,554
- Curtis Jones, Bibb County superintendent, $409,570
- Michael Looney, Fulton County superintendent, $404,377
- Lisa Herring, city of Atlanta schools superintendent, $353,261
- Cheryl Watson-Harris, DeKalb County superintendent, $344,394
Source: Open Georgia
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