Coaches best-paid state employees in Washington

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Washington isn't alone in having the top-paid public employee in the state shake out to be a coach. A few are basketball coaches -- one is a hockey coach -- but only 11 states pay a non-coaching public employee more than anyone else in the state.

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Washington isn’t alone in having the top-paid public employee in the state shake out to be a coach. A few are basketball coaches — one is a hockey coach — but only 11 states pay a non-coaching public employee more than anyone else in the state.

OLYMPIA — College coaches are the top-paid state employees in Washington, according to a list recently released by the state Office of Financial Management.

University of Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian earned $2.7 million last year, followed by Washington State University football coach Mike Leach at $2.3 million. Third on the list is UW basketball coach Lorenzo Romar at $1.35 million, and fourth is WSU coach Ken Bone at $855,000.

Coaches are paid from athletic department revenue, such as ticket sales and television rights or gifts, not taxpayer funds.

The first non-coach is fifth on the list — Washington State University President Elson Floyd at $625,000, and sixth is UW president Michael Young at $563,000.

A total of 68 state employees earned more than $300,000. Most of them are in higher education, and many are paid through research grants, not taxes or tuition. Many of the highest-paid UW employees are in high-demand, high-paying fields such as medicine or computer science, the Office of Financial Management said.

Christine Gregoire earned $162,000 as governor of Washington in 2012, after forfeiting a portion of her pay when other state workers’ pay was cut. Most saw a 3 percent reduction since July 2011.

Salaries for the governor and other statewide elected officials and judges are set by the Washington Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials.