Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Fat Cat Report: Much Fat, Little Beef

 Despite its name, there is a great deal of fat but little beef in the Mississippi Center For Public Policy's Fat Cat Report issued a few weeks ago.  The Jackson think tank went all Bud Fox as it bragged about bagging some fat cats to the media. Nothing like beating up on a bunch of good ole boys sippin' bourbon, lounging in $3,000 chairs, and smoking cee-gars, right?

Let's see who some of these Fat Cats are.  Check out the top ten and see if you notice anything. 

1. State Superintendent of Education: $300,000

2. State Medical Examiner: $290,000

3. Deputy Chief Medical Examiner: $289,000

4. State Medical Examiner II: $265,000

5. Tupelo Public School Superintendent: $234,000

6: Executive of Director of Medical Licensure: $231,000

7. State Health Officer: $230,000

8. JPS Superintendent: $225,000

9. Associate State Medical Examiner: $225,000

10: Desoto County District Superintendent: $210,000

Notice a word repeated a few times in the top ten? Medical.  Yup, six of the top ten "Fat Cats" are doctors.  Medical doctors, not the Jill Biden or Safiya Omari variety. Nevertheless, MCPP recommends dropping the Fat Cats salaries below the Governor's salary.  Yeah, that will work.  You'll get quite a few candidates for those jobs at that pay.  They may not be qualified nor have much experience but don't worry, they are quick learners. MCPP breathlessly reported:

Mississippi’s top 50 Fat Cats are paid more than our state governor: Mississippi’s own state governor currently has a salary of $122,160. Meanwhile, the lowest-paid position on the top-50 salary list makes $158,875.

The Legislature raised the Governor's salary to $160,000 this year. It goes into effect at the beginning of 2024. 

The top salary on the list was $300,000 for State Superintendent  of Education Dr. Carey Wright. Yours truly has been a critic of Dr. Wright over the years but JJ didn't have a quarrel with the salary but with Dr. Wright's resume.  Make no mistake, the Mississippi Department of Education budget is $3 billion.  Billion.  A CEO of a three-billion dollar corporation would make much more than $300,000 per year in MCPP's beloved private sector. Of course, nothing in Dr. Wright's background qualified her for the salary.  This website thinks she should have been fired years ago for the cronyism and contracts she passed out to her friends.  However, there is nothing inherently wrong with paying the Superintendent more than the Governor - if the resume justifies the pay.

 School Superintendents dominate but some positions show the stupidity of this report.  MCPP calls the PERS Executive Director a "Fat Cat" since he makes $179,000 per year.  Hmm..... the PERS porfolio is $30 BILLION.  What candidates will work in that position for less than $122,000 per year?  Who will manage a $30 billion portfolio at $110,000 per year? Someone who is a fast learner, right? If there is one position where Mississippi should not be a cheapskate on salary, this is it.  Period. 

Who else made the list? The Oxford City Manager at $179,401.  Yup, that's a pretty high salary but guess what? The Board of Ealdormen are elected representatives.  They approved the salary.  Representative government means the people have the right to be stupid sometimes.  

Who are some other so-called Fat Cats? 

Executive Director of the Pharmacy Board: $172,685.  This is a health-care related field so the salary should not be a surprise.  Executive Director of Information Technology makes $160,000 per year.  Yeah, good luck going cheap on that job.  The Executive Director of the Department of Mental Health makes $167,764 per year. That is not out of line for operating a health care system of the mental health variety. 

Then there are the Directors of MDOT and Medicaid.   They each make $183,000.  However, one small factor to consider is they are managing budgets that are over a billion (with a "b") dollars.  Drew Snyder has probably earned every penny as he took a thankless job nobody wants and ran the Division like a top.  When was the last time you heard a Democrat complain about how Medicaid was run? MCPP was too busy grandstanding as it made another error in reporting the MDOT Director's salary.  I

The report states MDOT Director Brad White got a 45% salary increase.  Not so fast, my friend.  He made $160,000 last year.  The increase is a grand total of 14%, a far cry from 45%. 

However, the report saves its ire for public school superintendents.  Make no mistake, JJ agrees with every criticism made of these superintendents and their salaries.  However, remember one little fact.  Most of these salaries are set by school boards, most of which are elected.  Conservatives are rather fond of touting local control. Well guess what, sweetpea, setting such salaries is part of it.  Representative government means the people and their representatives at times are going to make stupid decisions.  Paying the Humphreys County Superintendent $182,000 per year is probably not a good idea.  The Hinds County Superintendent earns $205,000 per year.  However, the county school boards set those salaries and the voters are apparently happy with such pay.  

The report makes a good point about outrageous Superintendent salaries.  What MCPP should have done was produce a report on the Fat Cats in the schools, not the doctors and state employees who's pay is still small compared to similar jobs in the private sector.  

The Fat Cat Report is flashy but full of fat and that my friends, is the bottom line. 

Kingfish note: The report might want to get the Rankin County Superintendent's salary right.  The Super makes $187,000 per year, not $105,000. 

2022 Fat Cat Report in pdf. 

2021 Fat Cat Report in pdf.

Kingfish note: Whoever wrote the report needs to go to steno school.  Yours truly corrected the report because half of it was rotated 90 degrees.


Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem with the state medical examiners pay. These people could be making much more in the private sector. The real fat cats reside at the department of education. We have around 150 of these little operations around the state plus the millions of dollars that are being paid out to these so called "Consultants". I appreciate all teachers but enough already. You work about 8 months out of the year and most of you retire after 28 years of service.

Anonymous said...

The cult of education must take care of their high priest, or priestess.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi’s 50 highest-paid public officials make more than America’s 50 governors.

Anonymous said...

The MS Center for Public Policy has a problem. It basically wants government out of everything money-wise and then advocates for "strong families" which puts the government back in everything. Don't want government schools or government programs. Check. But then, want government to ban abortion, keep gay books out of libraries. Check. Huh?

Anonymous said...

MS Center for Public Policy and Empower are both schizophrenic.

Anonymous said...

MCPP was the cheerleader for even more tax cuts for the rich. You get what you pay for.

Prison guards paid less than WalMart. Water plants in disrepair. Streets not passable. Schools that are, at best, warehouses for babysitting and breeding criminals.

The Tea Party wants great schools, fine roads, and safe towns. They just don't want to pay for it.

How did that work out with Jackson's no billing model?

No revenue, no roads. No justice and no peace. Thanks, LiberaLtarians!

What will you say when your kid or wife are carjacked or kidnapped? "Well, I don't like taxes and......"

Burke said...

When I hear the word "Educator," I reach for my vomit bag.

The compensation for Ed Admins should be Perfomance Based. So often one gets hired and is overpaid for the length of time required to see that they are incompetent.

The doctors are being paid fairly. Only pediatricians make less than the Governor.

Note: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a doctor. Nor am I related to a doctor.

Anonymous said...

Board of Education member terms are 6 years. With appointed superintendents, the people need an opportunity more than every 6 years to make a change. The legislature should follow up on the appointed superintendent issue and make Board member terms every 4 years so they have to face the voters like most other elected offices in the state - particularly those that are supposed to represent the public.

Anonymous said...

You are not qualified to discuss these folk's salaries......

Anonymous said...

This is why libertarians will never and can never hold actual power.

Anonymous said...

Morans gona moran!

Anonymous said...

MCPP has to put out crap to justify its existence.

It's basically libertarian. Libertarians want legal dope and no taxes.

Let's go back to gravel roads and government will be much cheaper.

Those salaries are not that high.

Go to other states, say even Georgia and they will be much higher.

Anonymous said...

Burke - Even though you do not, I'll pretend you know what you're talking about. You have no idea that the State Department of Education is filled with failed principles, recycled superintendents (consultants) and teachers at some sort of supervisory level who could not hack it out in the field. All of these people have been issued parachutes for God knows what reason.

If the whole damned lot of them was (lot is singular) to disappear tomorrow, it would make no difference. And I am intimately familiar with that department. VERY intimately.

Anonymous said...

2:38 - To whom are you speaking. I spent over forty years in occupations that involved developing and conducting wage and salary surveys across the state and nation which included comparing them to job duties and requirements. Get back to the office and dust erasers.

Anonymous said...

Morans gona moran! September 7, 2022 at 2:54 PM

"Who can? Moran can". I remember it.

Anonymous said...

$250k+ for any public official is simply insane.

Between the State Medical Examiner, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, State Medical Examiner II, and Assoc. State Medical Examiner, that's a lot of sh*t in that litter box.

Anonymous said...


1. Those school folks, while perhaps being qualified as "educators," aren't functioning as educators, but instead as administrators of the education system.

2. I don't see any logical reason to compare the salaries of the targeted jobs with that of the governor. Every position on that list requires SIGNIFICANT professional education and experience, meaning a valuable, marketable, costly individual. But the governor? Here it is: The Governor shall be at least thirty years of age, and shall have been a citizen of the United States twenty years, and shall have resided in this State five years next preceding the day of his election. In other words, most any idiot who gets enough votes. I suggest that anyone in a state government position which requires professional letters after his name should make more than the governor.

Anonymous said...

The level of ignorance being shown on this post is astounding.

Anonymous said...

@3:14, I think you nailed it. I'm aware of a principal that wasn't cutting it, and he was sent to the State Department of Education to live out the rest of his employment. I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Most of these salaries are in line considering the responsibilities and budgets. But school administrators are pulling the wool over people's eyes. Our state universities are printing PhD's in school administration. A PhD used to be an exclusive research degree. Now you just pay your money and the universities gladly accept it. Four years later, wallah! You make assistant principle and principle and get that high four. Well worth the $60k student loan. Imagine....its a job requirement to get a research doctorate to manage a bunch of 25 year old teachers and do class schedules.

Anonymous said...

Governor Reeves is worth more than $7,000,000 dollars and counting.

He gets to KEEP his political contributions if he pays taxes on them.

So quit worrying at poor Tate…..he made his money the old fashioned way….he stole it.

Anonymous said...

I think every position should be subject to a recall petition. If the people didn't like the performance, they would have a way for their voice to be heard.

Anonymous said...

@2:38 - "the State Department of Education is filled with failed principles, recycled superintendents..."

And you claim to be very intimately familiar with education. I think not.

Anonymous said...

@4:16 PRINCIPAL not principle!!!

Krusatyr said...

Quickest way to halve pay of education and other wasteful county bureaucracy is to cut the number of MS's little counties, make one out of two adjacent to each other all over the state, where only the largest counties with largest populations (like Hinds, Rankin and Madison) remain uncombined.

Anonymous said...

@4:16 - "Four years later, wallah! You make assistant principle and principle..."

Well I hope they at least learn how to spell, especially before posting it for all the world to see.

Anonymous said...

1:23 wrote: "The cult of education"

Yes, education is a cult, its members brainwashed with knowledge. It is truly a terrible thing, tearing at the fabric of society.

Anonymous said...

The Liberaltarians at MCPP also want to dismantle the civil asset forfeiture process so all of the dopers can keep their ill-gotten booty. I don't understand why these concerned people at MCPP are so upset that these drug runners lose their money or assets when it is seized. So what if the money helped a law enforcement agency purchase equipment or emergency response vehicles. I bet they surely appreciate that equipment when it saves their ass. As for their splash about salaries, that is no different than someone crying racism at every turn. It is all about trying to stir the pot of discontent and division. Who made these people the guardians of our state??? Thanks JJ for your take on this matter.

Anonymous said...

Wake up Mississippi. School Superintendents control a whole bunch of jobs in their area. This is who you go to if your brother-in-law is out of work. Powerful people with big salaries! Don't know why the Legislature allows so many school districts. Can't even begin to "follow the money" on all of this but someone should. Comparisons to the Governor do not bother me. He is our top executive, supposedly.

Anonymous said...

“ tearing at the fabric of society.”, no one said anything about tearing anything. Your embellishing simply proved my point.

The moment someone doesn't agree with the money requested of the education system, your kind go on the attack.

The education system has become a caste system. The actual teachers in the classroom seldom see anything resembling monetary return for the work invested.

The top-heavy salaries of the administrations is where the problem is. Not just top-heavy salaries, but useless employees. The assistant, to the assistant, to the assistant needs to go. I don't care how much you like your sister-in-law.

There was a time that teachers taught, not for the money, but because individuals believed they had a calling on their lives. We had much better results.

Anonymous said...

Dept of Education = B.S., waste of taxpayers money.

School Superintendents = figureheads. The secretaries/staff in the District offices do all the work for them.

Anonymous said...

Let’s say you save $5 million by reducing these 50 people’s salaries to $120,000. That is an absolutely insignificant amount of money. Congrats on saving every man, woman, and child in Mississippi the cost of a McDonald’s cheeseburger every year.

The real agenda here is making sure public services fail so they can parcel out the basic services of government to their friends. A great way to do that is make sure agencies can’t afford to hire anyone remotely qualified. So here we are, attacking a handful of people at the very top of their professions for making a salary that their equivalents in the private sector wouldn’t deign to spit on.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see some fat cat salaries, dig into the administration of county-owned hospitals who are not really accountable to the counties who actually own them. Mid-to-high six figure salaries for the CEOs and other C-suite personnel of a lot of hospitals you wouldn’t think command that kind of salaries to run. Singing River, Forrest Co General, OCH Regional, North Miss Medical Center, etc. The counties that own them should sell to for-profits like the Baptist system, Ochsner or CHS and bank billions.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly disappointing report. Yeah let’s destroy local control of schools with another top down regulation from the state. Very conservative!

Anonymous said...

this is exactly why everybody wants to work for the government.
and even if you foul up everything you have no liability whatsoever.'s the perfect job......................
you didn't know this? ..................................well, now you know


Anonymous said...

@4:20...Tate is worth a heelavu lot more than $7 million
In one week he saved the tax payers $2 billion...When the adults show up, the excuses collapse!

Anonymous said...

All dwarfed by what we pay our football coaches at the state universities to teach "student athletes" how to chase a ball around.

Anonymous said...

Not commenting on any of the positions listed, but I will give one opinion. I would rather pay $250,000 annually to a leader who works a lot of hours and competes their ass off, than pay $120,000 to some bumbling bureaucrat that walks around in a suit doing nothing all day.

Anonymous said...

This Dumb-A failed Brexit MP Brit should'd get his rear back to the Motherland with this non-sense. He is raising money through demagoguery. Please let's move on to serious things.

Thank you KF for listing the other state positions (however, you forgot IHL Commissioner as did the Tory).

Good grief, people. Do your work!

Anonymous said...

All y'all Donna Ladd haters (deserved) should also hate this garbage report. Same fruit, different variety.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:23. I suppose you want a list of names. Counting yourself, look around the building and count the employees who 'came from the field'. You'll see a few former principals, more than a few former superintendents now on contract (some of whom you people put in interim positions in field districts), former district employees who claim they wanted to make a difference and 'transition' up to the state level...on and on.

And many of these failed or formerly disgruntled malcontents are sent out to 'evaluate' the effectiveness with which district teachers do their jobs. And this latter group, disgruntled as they are, are finally seeing people AT WORK, plying a trade and your co-horts can't wait to get back to their keyboards to write people up. Yes....I'm down the hall.

Get back to your cubicle and stay off the phone with PERS!

Anonymous said...

September 7, 2022 at 8:58 PM, are you that ignorant? Do you really think the high salaries of university coaches are paid by the state?

Why don't you look into that? At least you won't be ignorant about that, again.

Anonymous said...

"a handful of people at the very top of their professions for making a salary that their equivalents in the private sector wouldn’t deign to spit on. "

What is the equivalent of a school district superintendent in "the private sector"?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kingfish, for exposing the kind of lazy, pitiful nonsense that comes out of the laughably named “Mississippi Center for Public Policy”. Although the anti-education crowd has hijacked this thread, the point of the post was to show that government often has to pay for competence. It is up to the appointing authorities, be they the Governor, some faceless board or commission, or the voters themselves to ensure the appointee’s competence. Here, the illustrious “Center for Public Policy” decided to take up the long revered and very tired theme of “fat cat” overpaid state officials. The easy route, which they were quick to take, is to take a look at the main state compensation statue and the some reports from public records requests that compile state, county and district official’ salaries. Problem is, that doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. No mention of compensation at Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning except to claim they are “outside the scope” of government salaries. Really? IHL has all those high paid academic administrators and faculty. Nothing on university athletic administration and coaching staff, even without athletic foundation bumps. But that would take some real work going to all the universities instead of getting one easy spreadsheet from the State Personnel Board. And what about total compensation, like for per diem, travel or supplements? And there might be some surprises with legislative staff. Moreover, the biggest elephant in the room, contract work and professional services. Could this report have been any more stupid? The Center for Public Policy is nothing but a center for public B.S.

Anonymous said...

@7:17…..”The Baptist system” is not for profit.

Kingfish said...

I know about IHL but I was focusing on the "report".

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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