Interesting Stuff

State Salaries Show Spending Priorities

State Controller Brandon Woolf has launched a great new website called TRANSPARENT IDAHO which shines the light of public scrutiny on how our taxes are spent. He built the site for $28,000 using part of his annual budget to do it.

That light was glaring with intensity when the GUARDIAN took a look at HIGHEST PAID state employees. Of the top 20 who make more than Gov. Butch Otter’s $115,348, 16 are at Boise State University and 11 of those are in the athletic department.

Of course the highest paid state employee is BSU foot ball “Coach Pete” at $1,086,009–nine times as much as the Gov. But the Gov hasn’t won bowl games every year either.

The site is full of all sorts of interesting agreements and expenditures–including a $1,000,000 deal on BREAST PUMPS.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. To quote Yogi Berra, he had a better year.

    Seriously, it’s important to remember that the athletic department not only brings in enough to pay their salaries, not only contributes to funding for Boise State, but also helps market Boise and Idaho as a whole. The head of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership says they got a million dollars’ worth of publicity out of BSU being at the Fiesta Bowl.

    EDITOR NOTE–That BVEP group is the same one bragging up the Zonda electric bus company that never happened. http://boiseguardian.com/2012/05/29/zonda-bus-not-stopping-in-boise-anytime-soon/

  2. idahocrystal
    Jan 11, 2013, 4:39 pm

    What’s not very transparent is that most of Coach Pete’s and the AD’s salary is not paid with appropriated tax dollars – It’s paid through Boise State’s non-reportable fundraising, alumni and booster support and those aforementioned bowl appearances.

    This seems misleading to me – To Joe Public, it might imply some seriously misplaced priorities which are simply not true.

  3. idahocrystal
    Jan 11, 2013, 4:43 pm

    RE: the Breast Pumps –
    I’d like to make the point that those could very well be considered beneficial to the State, as they help nursing mothers return to work far easier and sooner than if they didn’t have access to or couldn’t afford breast pumps. They also reduce the amount of money WIC spends on costly formula…

    EDITOR NOTE–We were not making any judgement, just noting the scope of the site with something that is eye-catching. Same with salaries. Raw data is just that–raw. Gotta admit though, university prez and athletic staffers seem well paid compared to Supremes and Gov. for example. Those guys certainly don’t rank dead last for national wages like the average working stiff in Idaho.

  4. With all of the Boise State Univeristy and University of Idaho listings; it appears that Idaho has a evidenced a committment to education versus other agencies of the state.
    Although the biggest dollars may go to athletic entities of the state; it would seem that education has been a priority that is funded.
    Of course, for those that consume those dollars, the well is never deep enough.

  5. chicago sam
    Jan 11, 2013, 6:47 pm

    There really is no rhyme or reason to how people of different professions are paid. I have always thought I was worth more but my employer was reluctant to pay me more. When I became self employed I found out how right he was. I will stick up for coach Pete tho–Not since the Idaho Spud became famous have we had such a great ambassador for our State. He is worth every penny and then some.

  6. Yeh, I love this list, but my interst is in knowing how tax revenue is spent, not how much someone makes in total. The list of Boise State coaches is silly. He should only include actual tax money in his list, or at least have that option in filtering the list.

  7. Kind of funny that Gene Bleymaier made the list of top State employees but he was fired almost 2 years ago….Great contract.

    Also the list doesn’t show the perks that a University President or a coach gets… cars, parties, clothes…etc.

  8. I believe there is $0 of Pete’s salary that comes from state coffers as of his last contract.

  9. Guardian,

    Although the Transparent Idaho website provides a look into the finances of the state; there is another website that provides a three year window of the exact dollars that are paid to every public employee in Idaho.
    You can compare the $41,305 district budget in the Three Creek Joint District to the $116 million in the Boise Independent School District. Even the cities are included.
    Please advise your many readers of the site http://accountableidaho.com/

    The available data will either outrage or invoke sympathy for those who work in the public sector

  10. I’m wondering what dash Exempt means, as in Officer-Exempt. Exempt from what?

  11. I’m a bit mystified by Gene’s name. Typically, those contracts have clauses that cease payment when a new job is found, or at least reduce the amount owed by what the new job pays.

  12. Could Gene be on the payroll in order to reach a certain level with PERSI? Was that part of the settlement?

    EDITOR NOTE–We were told that was indeed the case. Something to do with the fiscal year, but we THINK he is all paid off now.

  13. Average wage in the State of Idaho is $32,994. We have to pay taxes to pay these people.

  14. Exempt could mean different things, but I am most used to seeing it used to signify that the employee is not a “classified” employee under the state’s classified employment system. Among other things, this implies you are an at-will employee, typically above the bureau chief level.

  15. I appreciate idahocrystal’s clarification on the breat pumps.

    (I had assumed they were those pumps you hook to your vacuum cleaner to enlarge the mammalian protuberances. And that they were probably ordered by Senator McGee’s office.)

    (Sorry – a feeble attempt at chauvinist/Neanderthal humor…)
    EDITOR NOTE–Your attempt wasn’t so feeble, you accomplished your goal obviously! :-)

  16. Rod in SE Boise
    Jan 14, 2013, 1:07 pm

    I have heard that the breast pump thing is part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

  17. Southwestender
    Jan 14, 2013, 8:26 pm

    Robert, that’s not entirely true. Many public employees are paid by fees. As an example, Ada County Development Services employees.

  18. idahocrystal
    Jan 15, 2013, 9:22 am

    @Rod – The contract is not part of Obamacare. These and similar contracts have been around for a decade or more – And it’s not an order for breast pumps – It’s a pre-competed blanket purchase agreement that allows WIC or Medicaid to buy them, as needed, at (hopefully cheaper) set prices/terms.

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