(The Center Square) – A new report from a public policy institute shows that Mississippi’s 50 highest-paid public officials earn more than all 50 U.S. governors.
The Mississippi Center for Public Policy has released its annual Fat Cat Report, which provides a glimpse of what public officials are being paid, and it reflects on how large pay increases are being doled out to those employees.
“The public has a right to know how public money gets spent,” Douglas Carswell, president and chief executive officer of the policy institute, said in a release. “Our report shows that salaries for top public officials in our state are rising fast. The Fat Cats are getting fatter.”
According to the report, Mississippi’s top public-sector employees are receiving pay raises at a rate that is twice as fast as salaries for ordinary public-sector workers. One public employee, the superintendent of the Humphreys County School District, saw a 102% pay increase to $182,000 from slightly under $90,000.
Of the state’s highest-paid public officials, the report shows, 26 are school superintendents, with some from the worst-rated districts in the state, and only four on the list are elected officials. On the list, 46 of the highest paid employees are appointed.
The report shows that as salaries for those officials increases it is taking away from opportunities to hire nurses, teachers, police officers, and other essential workers.
Two state officials, according to the report, received pay raises of 128% and 45%, respectively. The Public Relations Team Lead for the Department of Education got a 128% increase in pay to $160,425, while the executive director of the Department of Transportation received a raise to $183,000, a 45% increase in one year.
The Mississippi Center for Public Policy, according to the report, has developed proposals that would not only hold public officials accountable but amend the state’s code to cap public sector salaries to less than what the governor is paid. Among the policy proposals are salary increases would need to be approved by the Legislature and developing a formula for superintendent salaries.
“In summary, the report shows that government waste does not happen in a vacuum,” Carswell said in the report. “An overpaid bureaucrat is ultimately feeding off the pocketbooks of citizens. It’s time to put the Mississippi Fat Cats on a diet of lower salaries so that taxpayer dollars can be protected from waste.”