Oklahoma City Community College: 12 employees earned more than $100,000 a year
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Published: 23-Sep-2011


At Oklahoma City Community College, two government employees earned more than the state’s governor in Fiscal Year 2010. Ten more state employees at the school earned more than $100,000 annually.

Topping the salary scale was Paul W. Sechrist, the president, at $227,429, followed by school official Jerry L. Steward, at $154,291 in total compensation. The state’s chief executive is paid $147,000 a year.

Sonya J. Williams, a program director at OCCC, was paid $128,288 annually. Vice President Felix J. Aquino earned $116,860, and another vice president, Gary A. Lombard, was paid $114,664 a year. 

Thomas J. Ashby, a dean and instructor, was paid $110,963. Two more vice presidents – Marion Paden and John W. Boyd – were paid $110,326 and $107,500, respectively. 

Paid $102, 482 was Dean Cecil M. Simmons, while general counsel Nancy M. Gerrity was compensated $102,343 in FY 2010. 

Gregory L. Gardener, another vice president also working as an instructor, was paid $100,956. Patricia A. Berryhill, an executive director on campus, was paid $100,168 that year.

According to AccountAbilityOK.com, a project of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, total payroll at OCCC in Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which comprehensive data is available, was $31,742,125.

A CapitolBeatOK investigation using the AccountAbilityOK.com website and other publicly available resources has found that most public employees who earn more than the governor work in Higher Education

Despite a 5 percent cut in state Higher Ed appropriations for Fiscal Year 2012, OCCC increased spending by $117,000. However, that is among the lowest spending increases for the state’s public colleges and universities. 

Peter J. Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog reported last month that OCCC’s FY 2012 budget of just over $62 million “represents an 86% increase over the FY 2003 budget of $34-million.” 

While OCCC’s 2012 spending hike is among the lowest recorded, the community college leadership is following a pattern among public institutions of higher learning in becoming less reliant on state appropriations in building annual budgets. 

Rudy reported, “In FY 2003, money from the legislature made up 56 percent of the budget while tuition and fees totaled 32.5 percent.  For FY 2012, state appropriations have fallen to 41.7 percent of OCCC’s budget while tuition and fees are now 43.6 percent.  But OCCC still received $153,000 more in state appropriations this year than last year.”

A chart visually tracking the increase in spending at OCCC can be viewed here

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