SSU pay database shows 76 earned over $100,000

Sonoma State University paid 76 employees more than $100,000 last year, according to a new database made public for the first time this week.

The online database, published by state Controller John Chiang, details $71.3 million in wages paid to more than 3,300 full-time and part-time employees at the Rohnert Park university.

President Ruben Armi?na, who was paid $331,359, took home the highest salary on campus last year — nearly twice as much as Gov. Jerry Brown.

"We have to be able to be competitive with our salaries in order to remain competitive here," SSU spokeswoman Susan Kashack said. "And the cost of living in Sonoma County is so high, we have to take that into account."

To promote transparency, the university already publishes a book every year that lists every employee's name, title and salary, Kashack said. The information is available to the public, Kashack said.

The controller's database lists more than 800 SSU employees as holding multiple positions with the state, and of those, 36 were paid more than $100,000.

"That's not going to be uncommon at a university where you have multiple positions that are part-time," said Jacob Roper, spokesman for the controller.

Most staff and administrators don't hold more than one position, Kashack said, but some professors or department chairs are hired as special consultants for projects like writing research grant proposals. For example, a faculty member also was listed as a special consultant and was paid wages totalling $156,658. Teaching assistants also sometimes hold more than one part-time job simultaneously.

Some SSU faculty members believe their salaries are lower than those paid at other CSU schools, while administrators are paid at higher rates, said Robert Karlsrud, professor emeritus.

"There's nothing wrong with making high salaries, but if you have many more administrators on campus than comparable-sized campuses, and those administrators are making more than on other campuses, then there are a lot of questions," Karlsrud said. "Does that mean that there is less money for instruction, or what?"

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