Money manager’s salary tops the list of Virginia state employees

Virginia state capitol

Fairfax and the D.C. area are home to lots of federal employees, who grow tired of hearing all the carping from politicos and bloviators about their supposedly munificent salaries. They may find it interesting to see the results of a Richmond Times-Dispatch project that collected the salaries of all 105,000 state employees.

The median salary of all state employees works out to $50,082. The highest salary? No, it’s not the governor, who makes a fairly modest $175,000. It’s Ronald D. Schmitz, not exactly a household name. He is the “chief investment officer” of the Virginia Retirement System, for which he is paid the rather princely sum of $957,715.

This isn’t really surprising, as most organizations public and private place a high value on maintaining the health of their retirement systems, all of which struggle to produce the annual investment gains needed to support retired employees in a manner at something more than a subsistence level. Doing so requires a top-tier money manager. In other words, you get what you pay for.

Value of education

Virginia loves its universities, so it’s not surprising that the rest of the top five jobs are held by university presidents — in order, Virginia Commonwealth University, Christopher Newport University, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia and George Mason University.

Football coaches? Not until you get to the 15th spot on the list, Robert Anae, UVA’s associate head coach, who tackled an even $500,000.

Elected officials? Forget about it. As noted, Terry McAuliffe made just $175,000 while his chief of staff, Paul Reagan, was close behind at $167,737. The governor’s entire staff made about $2.8 million, for an average of $75,653. That wouldn’t buy you even one money manager on Wall Street.

About the study

The Richmond Times-Dispatch got the names, job titles and salaries by using the state’s Freedom of Information statute. (Note to bloviators and talking heads: this is what real journalists do — dig out information of value to taxpayers. It’s a lot of work and doesn’t leave time to talk endlessly on cable TV).

The FOI request for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2016, and ended June 30, 2017, represents a snapshot of compensation as of April 1, 2017.

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About the Author

James R. Hood
James R. Hood is the editor and publisher of FairfaxNews.com. A former Associated Press editor and executive, he has more than 50 years of reporting experience.