Coach gets Idaho’s best salary; 400 state employees earn more than Gov.

The list of state employees who earn more than the governor’s salary has risen to more than 400 this year, according to a new state report.

BOISE, Idaho – This article originally appeared in Idaho Press.

The list of state employees who earn more than the governor’s salary has risen to over 400 this year, according to a new state report, and is topped, as usual, by the head coach from Boise State University.

The report examines the total salary, even if the salary does not come from public funds; this is the case of BSU coach Andy Avalos, whose annual salary of $ 1.4 million is almost double that of the second state employee. The second-tier one? Leon Rice, BSU’s chief men’s basketball coach.

Idaho is not alone in this case, notes State Comptroller Brandon Woolf, whose office releases the report each January. The same is true in most states.


The 10 Highest Paid State Employees in Idaho, All Funds:

  1. Boise State University football head coach Andy Avalos, $ 1.4 million
  2. Leon Rice, BSU men’s basketball head coach, $ 784,197
  3. Marlene Tromp, president of the BSU, $ 425,06
  4. C. Scott Green, president of the University of Idaho, $ 419,994
  5. Jeramiah Dickey, athletic director of BSU, $ 410,010
  6. Kevin Satterlee, president of Idaho State University, $ 400,000
  7. Robert Maynard, Director of Investments, Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, $ 359,902
  8. John Buckwalter, Dean of BSU and Vice President of Academic Affairs, $ 335,008
  9. Richard Ferguson, CEO of Idaho State Insurance Fund, $ 325,021
  10. Torrey Lawrence, Dean and Executive Vice President, University of Idaho, $ 321,298

According to 2019 data compiled by USA Today, the highest-paid state employee in 40 of the 50 states was a college football coach. Topping the list that year were University of Alabama coach Nick Saban and Clemson University coach Dabo Swinney, each making about $ 9 million a year.

“The salaries of Coach Avalos and Coach Rice, like their predecessors, are not funded by the state, but by program revenues, sponsorships and generous contributions from donors,” the BSU spokesperson said, Mike Sharp, in an email to the Idaho Press.

“Boise State athletics competes at an elite national level and its programs are widely recognized as some of the state of Idaho’s most visible brands,” he said. “The expectations of our programs as well as the national market for highly qualified coaches set the price. “

Idaho Governor Brad Little’s salary of $ 138,302 ranks 29th among states, according to the Council of State Governments. The ranking does not take into account Little’s housing allowance, which is almost half of his annual salary, but it also does not take into account what other states spend to provide housing for their governors. that all but five states provide.

The list of state employees earning more than the governor’s annual salary of $ 138,302 has grown steadily from 81 in 2001 to 407 this year; most of the highest paid people are in Idaho universities, along with doctors, Supreme Court justices, and agency heads.

Also on the list: the governor’s chief of staff; each state district judge; senior university officials, coaches and professors; physicians employed by the State Department of Health and Welfare; the investment manager of the state pension fund; each state district judge; and senior executives of most government agencies.

The Idaho State Comptroller’s Office annually prepares the report for lawmakers on the state’s payroll and workforce; it includes the number of active employees by agency, elected officials and their salaries, agency heads and their salaries, and the report of the highest paid employees, listing all those who earn more than the governor’s salary. In 2017, there were 338 state employees on the list; in 2008, they were 284.

Woolf said a look back at previous reports in his office showed that in 1983 only 35 state employees were earning more than the government of the day. John Evans’ annual salary of $ 50,000. At this point, the highest paid state employee was the state health worker, who earned $ 68,016.

Today, more than half of the people on the list are at Idaho’s three universities. “I think that’s the market the universities are in,” Woolf said. “This is the market value or the going rate for these university employees. “

Sharp noted that BSU employee salaries are overall 10% below market rates.

For many years, the report was called the “Rainbow Report” because it was printed on stacks of multicolored paper. It went from there to a CD just to be on the web. It’s now called the Legislative Manual, but all of its reports are available to anyone, anytime, on the Monitor’s Transparent Idaho website, with data updated daily.

Woolf said the report is always popular with high school groups or others who visit his office to learn more about what the state comptroller is doing. “It’s one of my favorites,” he said.

This article originally appeared in Idaho Press, learn more at

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