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2023 Kansas payrolls: $2.48 billion

Kansas payrolls for employees at state agencies and universities totaled $2.48 billion in 2023, including $39.5 million in overtime. Compared to 2022, total pay was 5.1% greater, and overtime was 4.5% greater.

Complete records for total state payrolls and overtime can be found on KansasOpenGov.org. Payrolls for Kansas’s largest cities and counties are also available on the website.

The amounts listed in total pay include ALL types of earnings, including, but not limited to, overtime, bonuses, and shift differential from all revenue sources, which may include non-state funds. Items not included in total pay include benefit income and retirement plan income.

Once again, the highest-paid state employee was Wichita State’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) Executive Director John Tomblin with over $1 million. NIAR is a government entity but works with private industry.  It’s important to note that Open Records requests do not cover privately raised funds used to pay staff at universities (mostly coaches), so the total pay reported on the Kansas payrolls is only public funds.

Right behind Tomblin is Kansas State University’s Director of Athletics, Gene Taylor. In late 2023, Taylor re-signed with the university through the 2029-2030 school year with an annual salary of $925,000 and then retention bonuses, such as $250,000 at the end of each year.

The largest pay raise of people in the top 20 both last year and this year was $112,981 (27%) for Richard Linton, the President of Kansas State University. The only person who was in the top 20 last year and this year who had a decrease in pay was Doug Girod, the Chancellor at the University of Kansas, who was paid $170,785 (18%) less. Five of the top 20 were new to the list.

All of the top 20 highest-paid state employees were affiliated with one of Kansas’s universities. The University of Kansas’s Medical Center had the most at seven, with Wichita State closely behind at six. The University of Kansas (not the med school) had four and Kansas State University had three. The operations of KU’s Medical Center are somewhat independent and vastly different than the rest of university operations, which is why its listed apart.

Overtime Pay

Kansas’s top-paid state employee in overtime was a Unit Team Supervisor at Hutchinson Correctional Facility who made a whopping $107,237 off overtime. The overtime was 59.22% of his gross pay of $181,072. Of the top 20 state employees paid the most in overtime, 11 worked in Kansas’s Corrections system and another three worked as confidential special agents for the attorney general’s office. Another four worked in some capacity at a state hospital, such as a mental health or disability services technician. 9,419 of the states’ 45,094 employees received some form of overtime with 5,309 of them receiving more than $1,000 worth.

According to the 2024 Green Book, Kansas ranks 40th in the number of state employees per 10,000 residents. Kansas’s ratio of 187.1 state employees per every 10,000 residents is higher than the 50-state average of 160.6. This fuels Kansas’s spending of $4,941 per resident, which is significantly higher than the average of $3,113 that non-income taxing states spend.

The payroll and overtime records are obtained annually from the state in Open Records requests and reported directly. Other breakouts, including KPERS Pension payments, payroll from the Kansas Turnpike Authority, and payrolls for various cities and counties across the state can be found on KansasOpenGov.org.