6,000 workers at DOH are paid less than $30,000
State employees’ salaries have been public records for many years, but it used to take some effort to get the information – at least a phone call or e-mail.
Now Gov. Rick Scott has made it easy to check how much state employees earn.
His staff has put up a web site, www.FloridaHasARightToKnow.com, on which it’s a snap to check the salary of an individual or a whole agency.
A reporter for Health News Florida called a dozen top earners at the Department of Health (DOH) and Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to see what they thought of the idea, but all calls were rerouted to public-relations staffers.
They said reporters are not allowed to talk to state employees without first being screened by public relations officers or the governor's office.
Tim O'Connor, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Health Department, said the easy access to salaries is no concern. "We all work in Florida, and everything we do is on behalf of the public. The governor's creation has just made more convenient what has always been available," he said.
The web site doesn't bother Doug Martin, communications director for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees in Florida. “We certainly encourage the public to see how little state employees make,” he said.
Indeed, at DOH, almost 6,000 full-time employees make $30,000 a year or less. Judging by the names, the overwhelming majority of low-bracket earners are women clustered in the pink-collar fields: clerks, assistants, counselors, translators, aides, and so on.
At the other end of the salary scale, DOH has 310 employees who earn $100,000 a year or more. Nearly all of them are doctors and dentists.
Of the roughly 1,500 salaried employees AHCA, who tend to be administrators rather than medical professionals, only a dozen earn $100,000 or more. About 250 employees at AHCA earn less than $30,000.
Other agencies besides DOH that have a lot of doctors and dentists also have a considerable number of high earners: The Department of Corrections, which runs the prisons, and the Department of Children and Families, which runs state mental hospitals in Chattahoochee, Gainesville and MacClenny.
Lest you think that the only high earners among state employees are from medicine, check the State Courts System, where more than 1,000 earn more than $100,000. Nearly all of them are judges.
And then there is the Department of Transportation, which has more than 200 employees in the top earning bracket. They are almost all engineers.
--Reporter Brittany Alana Davis contributed to this article.