Ohio’s payroll for state employees shrunk $92 million in 2012 and the state has about 3,100 fewer government workers compared to 2011, according to data released Wednesday.
Payroll for 61,823 state workers totaled just under $3 billion including more than $105 million in overtime pay. Overtime pay made up 3.5 percent of the total, nearly matching the percentage for 2011.
Dr. Zinovi Goubar, a psychiatrist at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare near Cleveland, tops the state’s payroll for the fourth year in a row, earning $335,392 including $177,720 in overtime during 2012.
Gov. John Kasich, the state’s top elected official, made $148,347 last year — a salary set in state law. The state auditor, secretary of state, attorney general and treasurer each made $109,580.
Of the 137 state employees who made more than Kasich, 48 are psychiatrists and 61 are doctors who work mostly in state prisons and hospitals.
One person who made more than Kasich was his Number 2 — Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. She earned $150,404 since she also serves as director of the state Insurance Department. The state paid two employees in the governor’s office more than Kasich: Chief of Staff Beth Hansen ($177,866) and senior advisor Jai Chabria ($151,710).
The outgoing state schools superintendent and his temporary replacement also earned more than Kasich in 2012. Stan Heffner resigned in August 2012, but earned $175,965 for the year. Deputy Superintendent Michael Sawyers became acting superintendent and earned $167,399 in 2012. Heffner’s pay includes accrued sick leave or vacation time, according to a Department of Education spokesman.
About 2,000 made more than 20% of their pay in overtime
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services prepared the database, which details pay for overtime, vacation, compensatory time and sick days, at the request of media organizations.
The database shows about 2,000 state employees earned more than 20 percent of their pay in 2012 from overtime. For 38 employees, overtime pay accounted for half of their total earned wages for the year.
But the pay totals do not tell the whole story. Overtime pay for psychiatrists is $65 an hour — usually much less than they make during regular hours. Dr. Goubar’s regular hourly rate is $76.33. State law requires a psychiatrist to be on duty at all times at some 24-hour facilities such as mental hospitals. Department of Mental Health spokesperson Trudy Sharp said hiring more psychiatrists would be more expensive because they would have to be paid regular wages and benefits.
“This really is the most fiscally responsible way to provide 24/7 care,” Sharp said. “What clinical staff have told me is the patients actually benefit as well because they’re not necessarily losing their doctor to shift changes or weekends.”
The Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the state’s largest department, also operates 24-hour facilities. The department paid $52.9 million in overtime pay to nurses, parole officers, social workers, plumbers and other staff in 2012 — a little more than half of all state departments combined. Overtime pay decreased for the second year in a row and took up 8.2 percent of total pay compared to 7.7 percent the previous year.
Department spokesman Michael Davis said about $23.9 million of that was either contractually bargained or required for 24/7 operations and the remaining $28.8 million went almost entirely to security and medical staff.
Chris Mabe, president of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, said staffing cuts have pushed more employees to work overtime. Mabe said fewer officers mean more violence in prisons and more prisoners requiring medical attention. He said OCSEA, which represents 33,000 state workers including prison staff, is willing to work with Department of Corrections officials to solve the problem.
“We hope they come up with solutions that don’t compromise safety or burden taxpayers,” Mabe said. “We’ve negotiated good contracts to make sure we’re good stewards of the taxpayers of Ohio.”
Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Faulkner said most of the department’s overtime pay goes to construction workers and snow removal efforts. The department hires temporary seasonal workers to remove snow.
Top paid non-medical employees in state government
Bruce Dunn, Chief Administration Officer, Bureau of Workers Compensation, $194,904
Stephen Buehrer, Administrator/CEO, Bureau of Workers Compensation, $185,001
Beth Hansen, Chief of Staff, Ohio Governor’s Office, $177,866
Thomas Berning, Highway Technician, Ohio Department of Transportation, $177,106
John Childs, Chief Operating Officer, Ohio Department of Education, $176,581
• Pay total includes overtime and vacation, etc.
Top 5 state agencies in overtime spending
Includes percent of total paid.
Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections $52,980,801, 8.2 percent of total
Dept. of Public Safety $9,304,281, 4.2 percent
Dept. of Transportation $9,094,230, 3 percent
Dept. of Mental Health $8,711,618, 6 percent
Dept. of Youth Services $6,750,439, 8.8 percent of total
Source: The Ohio Department of Administrative Services
* State employee payroll dropped below $3 billion in 2012, including $105 million for overtime pay — $3 million less than in 2011.
* 137 state employees made more than Gov. John Kasich, who earned $148,347
* 40 state departments and agencies didn’t pay any overtime