Six-figure salary trend for state employees surges

For most people, $100,000 in salary is a dream that they never expect to realize.

But nearly 5,000 Pennsylvania state employees earned at least $100,000 last year, according to newspaper reports.

Of the total, nearly a third of those making more than $100,000 worked for one of the 14 state-owned universities or the system that oversees them.

Make no mistake, most of the jobs for which six-figure salaries are being paid carry much responsibility with them.

But lots of jobs carry responsibility and stress with them in the private sector and don’t come with a $100,000 salary attached.

And unlike the state jobs, when a recession hits, those private sector salaries drop or jobs are eliminated.

In a bizarre turn, the top earner among state employees, Angelo Armenti at $367,449, has been fired as president of California University and has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the State System of Higher Education and other officials.

You would think the state’s chief executive would be its top earner.

Think again.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s salary of $178,033 ranked 190th among the 4,822 state employees earning more than $100,000 in 2012.

And the number of $100,000-plus earners has more than quadrupled from the 1,176 employees who pulled down six-figure salaries in 2002, about a decade ago.

So economic trends may rise and fall, but the public sector salaries are pretty much immune to the trends that drastically affect those in the private sector.

It’s a pretty good gig.