At least nine GA employees made more than $1 million during fiscal 2021

University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was the highest paid state employee in the fiscal 2021 at $6.9 million. The budget year ended in June, months before he led the Bulldogs to their first national title in 41 years. -AJC

According to AJC, at least nine state employees— from professors and coaches to pension fund investors — made more than $1 million during fiscal 2021, according to the state’s Open Georgia salary website.

That came in a fiscal year — which ended June 30 — during which most state employees didn’t get a pay raise.

The public is used to football coaches earning big money — University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart made $6.9 million in fiscal 2021, according to Open Georgia, and Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins $3.5 million.

Charles Cary, longtime chief investment officer at the Teachers Retirement System, was paid $1,018,238, up from $980,000 the previous year. The TRS had a big year in fiscal 2021 because the stock market skyrocketed, topping $100 billion in assets.

Other $1 million noncoaches, according to Open Georgia, were James D. St. Louis, chief of pediatric and congenital heart surgery at Augusta University, $1.35 million; and Richard Lee, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Augusta University, $1.2 million.

Two others came close: Fernando Vale Diaz, neurosurgery chairman at Augusta University, $985,500; and Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera, $975,000.

Two top 10 names traditionally on the annual Atlanta Journal-Constitution list are no longer in their jobs. University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley, who was paid $524,000 in fiscal 2021, retired. And the Gwinnett County school board decided not to renew the contract of Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks, who led the largest school system in the state for 25 years. Wilbanks was the highest-paid local superintendent in the state, earning $642,000 in fiscal 2021, according to Open Georgia.


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