Ohio's state payroll drops slightly in 2012


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio's state government payroll fell 3 percent last year, with psychiatrists at state mental hospitals continuing to be among the top earners, according to payroll records analyzed by a newspaper.

The state's non-university payroll fell to less than $3 billion in 2012, after staying roughly the same in 2010 and 2011, The Columbus Dispatch reported in a story published Thursday.

Dr. Zinovi Goubar, a psychiatrist at a state psychiatric hospital in Northfield, near Cleveland, made the most money at more than $335,000 last year -- including $177,720 in overtime. He was the only state employee to top $300,000 annually and was the state's top earner for the fourth straight year.

The analysis showed that 21 of the state's top 23 earners and 17 of the top 20 overtime earners are from the Ohio Department of Mental Health. The agency had 238 employees who made more than $100,000 last year, with a total payroll of $271 million.

Department of Mental Health spokeswoman Trudy Sharp said the agency's expenses, including payroll, are high because it must maintain professional care 24 hours a day, seven days a week at all six psychiatric hospitals. The agency serves an average of 1,000 patients at any point during the year.

"It's a fixed cost," Sharp said. "Each hospital has to cover 5,000 hours beyond the 40-hour week. To provide that coverage in any other way wouldn't save the state money. This is the most fiscally responsible way to cover 24/7 operations."

Dr. Andrew D. Eddy, who oversees the entire medical system for state prisons, was the second highest-paid state employee. He made nearly $289,000 last year, with no overtime.

Gov. John Kasich was paid $148,347 in salary in 2012.

?Personal-leave pay for state employees more than doubled to $21.8 million last year. That's because personal-leave days were frozen through June 30, 2011, under a state union contract that included cost-saving furlough days. Personal days were restored last year, accounting for the increase.

The Dispatch obtained the payroll records through a public records request.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com