Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: PA state government's $100,000 club: Unique counseling organization

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 11, 2013 10:39 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Tuesday, March 12:

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More than 4,800 employees of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were paid more than $100,000 in 2012.  That's according to a series of articles in the Patriot-News and on Penn

According to the report, there was a 59% increase in the number of state employees crossing that plateau than the last time the publication surveyed the incomes.  In 2007, there were 3,043 making more than $100,000 annually.  Last year, 93 people were paid more than $200,000, including eight who pulled in more than $300,000.

About a third of the paper's $100,000 club were employed in the State System of Higher Education.

Gov. Tom Corbett's salary of $178,033 ranked him 190th on the list.

The Patriot-News and Penn Live's Capitol Bureau Chief Jan Murphy will appear on Tuesday's Radio Smart Talk to discuss her findings.

Are you surprised by the number of people in state government with $100,000 incomes?

Also, "Someone to Tell It To" is a unique counseling service that doesn't follow the traditional methods or rules when it comes to solving problems or at least listening.  Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden of Some to Tell It To will appear on the program.


Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden of "Some to Tell It To"


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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:12

    Email from Melanie:

    I was wondering if these salaries were compared to compensation of similar workers in the private sector? If a state worker is making less than their private sector counterparts aren't we as tax payers getting a deal?

  • John Orris img 2013-03-12 08:20

    With the Commonwealth turning more and more to private consultants, is the Patriot News planning to look into the salaried paid to these consultants.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:23

    Email from Michael, Dillsburg

    State and public employees, like all workers, deserve to make a good living doing what they do commensurate with the contribution they make to our society, their education, and the importance and demands of their job. Should they be able to get rich? No, not on the public's dime. As long as their work is seen as a public service and a way to make a living, a good balance can and should be struck.

    But also remember that $100,000 in Crawford County is very different from $100,000 in Philadelphia. So be careful with comparing salaries in different parts of the state.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:24

    Email from Listener,

    I'm wondering if the patriot news feels comfortable disclosing their upper management salaries, especially in light of recent layoffs?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:25

    Email from Jan,

    Last week, the news broke that Governor Corbett has accepted gifts in violation of the Governor's Code of Conduct which bans officials and employees in the executive branch from accepting gifts from those doing business with the Commonwealth. He subsequently has refused to say he will follow the Governor's Code of Conduct or enforce the ban on gifts in his administration. Do you expect him to change his mind and enforce the Governor's Code of Conduct ban on accepting gifts?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:29

    Email from Rod,

    Most people think of gov jobs as the PennDOT clerk, but if you look at a lot of the higher pay ranges they are for professional positions, senior management, IT and others.

    People should also be aware that most management positions don't get OT or comp time.

    Remember "management employees" have lost pay raises for many years.

    Also, look at how many of the high salaries are at PHEAA, which is way above similar positions under the governor's jurisdictions.

    You just compared the governor to a CEO. Then compare all other positions to private sector.

    Also note a normal employee would have been disciplined or fired for accepting the same type of gifts.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:38

    Email from Listener:
    Mention the benefits and job security that public employees have(maybe with the exception of todays budgetary climate).

    And I have to tell you,govt employees need improvement,I've had met many negative lackluster employees in my time,local,state and federal.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:39

    Email from Rod:

    How would many people feel having this information released?

    Look at comparable salaries. 100K is a lot but compared to what job? Laborer, retail? PROFESSIONAL?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:39

    Email from Cathy:

    Scott-the biggest issue I see with government pay for workers is their ongoing payments...for the rest of their lives. I know a woman who worked for the post office from age 20-40 and she was able to retire with great benefits. Even though this is a federal example, the same issues are applicable for state employees. Those employees at the state stores may not be making a lot of money but they have a guaranteed pension. I wish the public would rise up and force a change-they should simply be in 401k or simple plans like the rest of us.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-12 08:42

    Email from Marty:
    I think that the act of publishing payroll figures for state workers has a malicious side to it that fosters jealousy and animosity… most people are not informed enough about the job descriptions and work performed at the state to “make their own decisions” about this data… this sort of thing only serves as a derisive tool and to what end I am baffled…

  • Jim Foster img 2013-03-12 14:23

    I'm sorry I was not able to call in today.

    I am a professional with a graduate degree who worked over 30 years in the private sector, and never a day in the public sector. I think it is fine for the Patriot-News and WITF to talk about public employees' salaries. But, please include some perspective. According to numerous surveys by human resources professionals, many employees, especially those with graduate degrees, pay a substantial penalty to work in the public sector. As an attorney, I know that my peers in the public sector made substantially less than me.

    The public needs to ask themselves whether they want competent public servants. If so, they need to pay them competitive wages. Stop being outraged when competent professionals make a decent wage.