RI Government Is Always a Growth Industry


For the “Who is serving whom?” file, the Associated Press reports:

The number of Rhode Island state workers who made $100,000 or more increased 21 percent from 2016 to 2018.

WPRI-TV, citing state payroll records, reports that 2,336 state workers had six-figure salaries in 2018, compared to 1,936 in 2016.

The employees accounted for a 23 percent increase in state spending to nearly $304 million.

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Apparently the biggest increase is in correctional officers, attributable to a freeze in hiring that will likely improve in the near future.  Rhode Islanders should be skeptical.  The Corrections department has had a long prominence on the list of high-earning state employees, with 21 out of 33 employees earning over $100,000 in overtime alone back in 2011.

When The Current looked in 2017, Rhode Island had the fifth-highest cost per prisoner among states, which was sixth-highest per capita, which was an improvement from second-highest per prisoner in 2001.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I have posted this before, while I am not sure that it is a good comparison, here is the state payroll from the Boston Herald:
    A few months ago when Staties were being busted for stolen overtime, I looked through the state police. I had to go down 6-8 pages to find someone making less than $150,000. There is also a section for pensions and “buy outs”. If you know anyone who works for Massachusetts, you can look them up by name. I looked up an old GF. In the early 2000’s she was making 50K, now, same job, she makes 87,000. She was an early riser, went in at 6 AM and played computer games until the 2 people she supervised showed up, her day was over at 2:00. On Wednesdays, she was “in the field” and home by Noon.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      My post above reminds me that I recently watched “re-runs” of “Law & Order” (late 80’s, early 90’s ?). I noticed in each segment at least one cop complains about low pay
      Starting salary: $42,500
      Salary after 5 ½ years: $85,292.
      Including holiday pay, longevity pay, uniform allowance, night differential and overtime, police officers may potentially earn over $100,000 per year.
      “detective” (a/k/a Early Retirement) takes you well over 100.
      I have noticed that a house near some property I own in Attleboro always has a state police car in the driveway. Would it be presumptuous of me to assume he “commutes” for free?

    • Joe Smith

      One of the issues is the gap between starting and “top step”. For example, 40K for a teacher isn’t great, but 90K by step 10 (usually 10 years) plus all the stipends (or OT in other jobs). Given the standard tactic is “across the board” increase of the same % for pay in negotiations, the gap gets bigger.

      Had a friend who was a Principal – said his district actually offered pay increases that kept the absolute value gap equal (so lower got higher %) and the union turned it down (even though the top step increase was what they were asking for). Claimed it would hurt the “unity” of the members. He then said they negotiated a big cut in something like sick days or some other benefit and the union agreed but it only applied to “new hires” – so much for “unity”.

      What gets lost too is while a pension of $40K is often cited in the COLA discussions, a guaranteed stream of $40K at the prevailing risk-free rate equates to a 401K of something like $1.5M – way more than you’d get a standard 401K matching contribution system for someone making 50K with a 2% annaul increase for 35 years with a 9% contribution and matching 9% add (with a 7% return)!

      • Rhett Hardwick

        Don’t know about RI, but most states have a retirement formula I don’t quite understand. Basically, if your “years of service” plus some other number, total 65, you can retire. If you start young, this can be accomplished before you are 65. Most police systems require retirement at, or prior to, 55. Make some friends, and you can easily “double dip”.