ATLANTA - Gov. Zell Miller's pledge to increase teacher pay has helped push faculty salaries in Georgia to fourth in the South, and this year hiked the number of college instructors earning more than $100,000 a year by 16 percent.
Records compiled for Morris News Service show at least 870 faculty and administrators in the University System of Georgia will earn at least $100,000 this school year, up from 751 last year.
Six-figure university staffers have increased more than 80 percent over the past three years.
The number of administrators and professors taking in more than $200,000 this year will increase from 46 to 53.
Three leading Medical College of Georgia professors will top $300,000: Dr. Thomas R. Gadacz, chairman of the surgery department; $325,00; Dr. Dennis McDonnell, section chief of neurosurgery, $320,000; and Dr. Edward Porubsky, section chief of otolaryngology, $314,851.
University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen Portch, whose compensation is $267,000 annually, said such salaries aren't out of whack with the market.
"With the Medical College, we're in an extremely competitive market," Portch said. "There is nothing here inconsistent with being competitive in the national marketplace."
He also noted the 8,000-faculty system doles out raises based on merit, meaning some top professors get larger than normal pay hikes.
"The more meritorious people are probably in the high end of the salaries," he said.
Whatever the reason, Tyrone Freeman of the Georgia State Employees Union called the compensation "incredible."
"I just feel the governor and Board of Regents should be ashamed," Freeman said. "It's beyond outrageous.
"It's a shame the state is not providing services to the needy, but raises to the greedy."
In an effort to make the state more competitive, Miller has pushed 6 percent pay raises the past two years for teachers and college faculty.
The hikes have nudged Georgia near the top in the South. The average faculty pay at a Georgia four-year institution last year was $50,060, about $2,300 more than average in the South, according to the Southern Regional Education Board. Georgia ranked fourth among 15 SREB states, up from sixth in 1994-95.
All of the $200,000-a-year professors and administrators in the Georgia system work at the Medical College, with the exception of Portch and the presidents of three universities: University of Georgia President Charles Knapp, Georgia Institute of Technology President G. Wayne Clough and Georgia State University President Carl Patton.
Dr. Francis Tedesco, president of the Medical College, will earn a package worth $239,649 this year; Knapp, $228,973; Clough, $231,840, and Patton $228,706.
Part of the pay at Augusta's MCG is often tied to how much "patient revenue" a doctor brings in at the hospital.
In many cases, more than half of the compensation for the highest paid instructors and administrators comes from medical services provided at the Veterans Administration or MCG hospitals.
The number of instructors and administrators with incomes over $100,000 at MCG is increasing from 323 to 339 this year, according to University System records.
The number of six-figure employees at Georgia Tech is jumping from 205 to 228, and from 144 to 152 at UGA.
With housing and subsistence subsidies included, all university and four-year college presidents earn at least $100,000 a year.
Georgia Southern President Nicholas Henry will earn $128,380 this year, including a housing allowance, and Valdosta State President Hugh Bailey will make $123,060. Bailey has a home provided by the school.
Among top paid college presidents, and their compensation, are:
Armstrong Atlantic State President Robert Burnett, $125,670; Augusta State President William A. Bloodworth, $122,980; Savannah State President John Wolfe $120,330; Coastal Georgia Community College President Dorothy Lord, $114,470, and Waycross College President Barbara Losty, $105,650.
Portch said national publicity the system has received for, among other things, the HOPE scholarship program and increased university funding has made Georgia attractive to top faculty throughout the country, particularly those in the Northeast who suffered through a brutal winter last year.
"The physical and educational climate has helped us attract and retain people," Portch said. "It certainly gets you in the door for people to look at you, but you still have to come up with the pay. It's given us more opportunity to recruit the best people."
However, Freeman wonders if that recruitment will come at the expense of the $15,000-a-year workers his union represents at UGA, Savannah State, Armstrong Atlantic and Valdosta State.
"The state is talking about downsizing and privatizing. The beneficiaries of that rhetoric have been the top-level managers," he said.
Highest compensated University System of Georgia staffers:1. Dr. Thomas Gadacz, professor and chairman of the department of surgery, Medical College of Georgia, $325,000.
2. Dr. Dennis McDonnell, professor and section chief of neurosurgery, Medical College of Georgia, $320,000.
3. Dr. Edward Porubsky, professor and section chief of otolaryngology, Medical College of Georgia, $314,851.
4. Dr. John Hardin, professor and chairman of the department of medicine, Medical College of Georgia, $290,284
5. Dr. H. Victor Moore, professor of thoracic/cardiac surgery, Medical College of Georgia, $288,762
Chancellor and presidents of colleges, total annual compensation:
1. Stephen Portch, chancellor, $267,000.
2. Dr. Fran Tedesco, president of the Medical College of Georgia, $239,649
3. Wayne Clough, president of Georgia Tech, $231,8404. Charles Knapp, president of University of Georgia, $228,973
5. Carl Patton, president of Georgia State University, $228,706
Nicholas Henry, president of Georgia Southern University, $128,380
Hugh Bailey, president of Valdosta State University, $123,060
Robert Burnett, president of Armstrong Atlantic State University, $125,670
William Bloodworth, president of Augusta State University, $122,980
John Wolfe, president of Savannah State University, $120,330
Dorothy Lord, president of Coastal Georgia Community College, $114,470
Barbara Losty, president of Waycross College, $105,650
SOURCE: University Board of Regents