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Government

Kirk Ferentz tops $5 million as state's highest-paid employee: 2017 state salary book

Unversity of Iowa President Bruce Harreld (from left) talks with Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz before their football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Unversity of Iowa President Bruce Harreld (from left) talks with Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz before their football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Kirk Ferentz, the longest-serving head coach in the FBS division of college football, was Iowa’s highest-paid state employee again last year, with total pay of $5.075 million, according to the 2017 state salary book released Wednesday.

The University of Iowa coach’s base salary was $2.37 million for 2016-17. according to his contract, which goes through 2026. But Ferentz is eligible for a boatload of bonuses, including $500,000 for winning eight or more regular season games and $100,000 for making it to the Outback Bowl game against Florida on Jan. 2.

Just as Monopoly players earns bonuses each time they pass “go,” Ferentz gets $360,000 each Jan. 31 he’s still head football coach at Iowa.

Six of the state’s 10 highest-paid employees were university athletics employees, including UI Head Men’s Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery at $1.79 million, Iowa State University Head Football Coach Steve Prohm at $1.68 million, ISU Head Football Coach Matt Campbell at $1.25 million and UI Athletics Director Gary Barta at $1.18.

Jane Meyer, a longtime athletics administrator, was among the top 10 biggest earners for the year that ended June 30 because of a $6.5 million settlement with the university earlier this year after a high-profile trial for gender and sexual orientation discrimination.

Meyer was laid off from her $177,000-a-year job Sept. 9, 2016, yet the salary book shows she was paid $946,808 in fiscal 2017. That payment includes $874,000 in wages Meyer was awarded as part of the May 19 settlement and the two-plus months of salary she earned in fiscal 2017 before she was fired.

Other high earners included Ken Kates, UI Hospitals and Clinics associate vice president and CEO, at $1.05 million; Matthew Bollier, orthopedic surgeon, at $1.02 million; and Jean Robillard, UI vice president of medical affairs and dean of the Carver College of Medicine, at $983,930. Robillard is retiring Nov. 30.

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Because the UI and Iowa State University athletic departments are self supporting, no taxes or tuition go to coaches’ pay. Many of the state’s other top earners in fiscal 2017 were paid in part with private donations.

The state salary book includes 59,208 state employees, with employees at the UI, ISU and University of Northern Iowa making up more than half the pool. About 56 percent of the state employees are women, 44 percent men. The median salary of state employees was $52,416, up about $1,000 from fiscal 2016.

l Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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