Editor's note: This is the second of a two-part series by GateHouse Media Illinois newspapers looking at state government employees who earned $100,000 or more in 2012. The first part was published in Sunday's editions.
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Visit bit.ly/100Kclub to search and explore information about state of Illinois employees who earned $100,000 or more during 2012. The data can be searched by department, job title, county of residence and more. The salary totals include all base and overtime pay, vacation or sick time payouts and back-wage claims earned by the employee in 2012.
More than one-third of Illinois State Police employees earned more than $100,000 last year.
There were 1,052 employees — nearly 35 percent of the department — that earned over $100,000. This group earned more than $125.8 million in 2012, which accounted for 47 percent of the department's payroll.
The agency has the highest percentage of $100,000-plus workers of any large state department, except for judges and Supreme Court justices.
The average state police salary for all ranks and experience levels was $87,725.05 in 2012. A first-year trooper's base salary is $57,708 after completing the training academy and a six-month probation period. About 6 percent of those ranked trooper, first class received more than $100,000 because of overtime earnings.
"You see law enforcement across the board with fewer resources. If that means paying overtime, that's what agencies are left doing because of budgetary constraints," said Monique Bond, chief of communications for the Illinois State Police.
Bond said state police salaries are intended to be competitive with other full service community police departments. Illinois State Police, unlike some other state departments, do more than patrol highways. They also handle forensics, drug enforcement, SWAT, major crime investigations, fraud and other services.
The highest earning state police employee in 2012 made $218,879.82. That salary went to Lt. Robert Bodemer, who retired last year. Much of the 2012 pay was from unused vacation and compensatory time that officers are paid by the state upon retirement. Bodemer was one of three who earned more than $200,000 last year.
Master sergeants accounted for more $100,000 earners than any other rank. There were 218 master sergeants who earned at least $100,000 in 2012. A master sergeant is responsible for the first line of supervision. They're responsible for patrol, investigations, administrative duties and are on-call 24 hours a day, according to a state police job description. They report to a lieutenant.
Here's a look at $100,000-plus employees in other high-profile state agencies:
Employees in the Illinois Department of Human Services account for eight of the top 10 and 16 of the top 20 state salaries.
Salaries range from nearly $234,000 a year to more than $300,000, according to agency figures. All are doctors.
Page 2 of 4 - "The state of Illinois must offer competitive wages in order to recruit and maintain skilled medical professionals," DHS spokeswoman Januari Smith said in an e-mail.
Smith said the top physician wage earners provide "vital services" to mentally ill patients at state-run facilities.
The department is one of the state's largest agencies with an annual budget of about $5.4 billion. Divisions include alcohol and substance abuse, developmental disabilities, family and community services, mental health, rehabilitation and administration.
DHS had 674 employees making $100,000 or more in 2012, or a little more than 5 percent of the workforce of 13,434. The salaries of employees who made $100,000 or more last year accounted for about 11 percent of the total annual, agency payroll of $788.5 million.
While doctors accounted for a sizable portion of the $100,000-plus club at DHS, a wide range of jobs fell into the category.
Medical administrators, contract workers, registered nurses, technology specialists, mental health technicians, engineers, therapy aids, clinical pharmacists, public-service administrators, steamfitters, firefighters, maintenance equipment operators and security officers also are sprinkled among the dozens of doctors and dentists.
Medical administrators were the highest paid after physicians, according to the data base, though a social worker in Union County, in southern Illinois, made more than $203,000 annually.
Administrators at the three major, state retirement systems are well represented in Illinois' $100,000 club.
The Judges Retirement System, Teachers Retirement System and State Employees Retirement System are among the smaller state agencies. But the systems, especially teacher and state employee retirements, have been at the center of the debate over Illinois' unfunded pensions.
Records show that 41 of 394 employees at the three systems earn six figures. Salaries ranged from more than $114,000 for a State Employees Retirement System administrator to more than $357,000 for the chief investment officer at the Teachers Retirement System.
The systems combined have fewer than 300 employees, ranging from just 10 employees at the Judges Retirement System to more than 190 at the Teachers Retirement System.
Two of the 10 employees at the Judges Retirement System earned more than $100,000 in 2012. Senior administrator Gerald Mitchell earned $108,624 last year, and deputy director Timothy Blair was paid $102,792. Both live in Sangamon County, the records showed.
Records for the State Employees Retirement System showed 18 of 190 employees earned more than $100,000 last year.
The top five salaries were senior administrator David O'Brien, $131,167.32; senior administrator Kevin Rademacher, $116,568.55; information system analyst Charles Paul, $115,720.56; senior administrator Nicholas Merrill, $114,600, and public-service administrator Barbara Baird, $114,248.03.
O'Brien, Rademacher, Paul and Merrill are from Sangamon County, while Baird is from DuPage County, according to the database.
At the Teachers Retirement System, records found 21 of 194 employees made more than $100,000 in 2012.
The top five were chief investment officer Robert Rupnik, $357,500; executive director Richard Ingarm, $239,166.79; director Gregory Turk, $185,485.68; information systems officer Edris Mabie, $170,149.20 and investment officer Zachary Doehla, $168,762.46.
Page 3 of 4 - All are from Sangamon County.
Among the 50 highest paid Illinois Department of Transportation employees for 2012, 34 were civil engineers.
All of the 34 made more than $120,000 in salaries and other compensations, which is well above $93,820, the average statewide salary for a civil engineer in the state, according to an Illinois Society of Professional Engineers' survey.
Kim Robinson, executive director of the society, said the survey was conducted last year.
"That's everybody from first-year people to people with 50 years experience," Robinson said.
With 8,603 employees, IDOT is the third-largest state agency. Of those employees, 377 earned $100,000 or more in 2012, which amounts to about 4 percent of the workforce. The average compensation for an IDOT employee in 2012 was $48,644.
Some of the IDOT engineers who took home more than $120,000 in 2012 had worked for the state for more than 35 years.
Information from the state also indicated that in many cases, their total compensation was significantly higher than their base salary. They earned extra money from overtime, payments for unused sick time and vacation time when they left IDOT, and also back wages.
The top earner for 2012 was Nicholas A. Ndoca, a bridge mechanic who took home $217,841. His base salary was $72,036, and he received $1,854 in overtime. About $143,952 of his 2012 compensation was for a back wage claim.
The second-highest paid employee for 2012, Ralph Peluso, had a base salary of $125,813. He had $13,105 in overtime and $64,559 in back wages for a total of $203,476.
Back wage payments can include grievance resolutions, civil service decisions, and errors in original payment of wages.
Engineers at IDOT perform a variety of tasks including working on road and bridge projects.
Robinson said engineers have to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in engineering. Structural engineers, the people who inspect bridges, have to have a minimum of four years of work experience and pass a licensing test.
Bill Buttlar, an engineering professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the professional engineer licensing exam isn't easy.
"It's a difficult exam. Less than half of the engineers pass it on the first try," Buttlar said.
During Gov. Rod Blagojevich's term in office, a number of functions of state government took it on the chin in the budget.
Constitutional officers who feuded with the governor felt budgetary pressure; so did state universities. But one of the most widely acknowledged examples was the state's Department of Natural Resources.
Indeed, the embattled officeholder sought to close 11 state parks and 13 historic sites at one point as he took the ax to the departmental budget, and aides had to admit that he'd never visited any of the locations.
The department has bounced back under Blagojevich's successor, Gov. Pat Quinn, but it still boasts few high-paid employees. Only 63 of the agency's 1,864 workers make more than $100,000 a year — about 3 percent — one of the smallest percentages for a large state agency of any kind in Illinois.
Page 4 of 4 - "The IDNR under Director (Marc) Miller has made a concentrated effort to put professional managers in place and keep a very hard working staff together over the last several years that works hard to meet the core missions of the agency," department spokesman Chris McCloud said recently.
The top 10 employees include the director of the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, several conservation police officers and a host of administrators at the department. None makes more than $156,275.
State Museum director Bonnie Styles made $137,928 in 2012. That's about $20,000 less than the head of Peoria's Lakeview Museum, Jim Richerson, made in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012.
As for some of the others, McCloud said he couldn't comment on specific factors for specific individuals, but he acknowledged that overtime "has and does come into play" for some employees — which serves to explain some of the higher-paid conservation police sergeants.
Other factors include length of service in unionized positions, as well as other experience or education, he said.
Haas reported from Rockford; Landis and Reynolds reported from Springfield; Kaergard reported from Peoria.