Alaska Gasline Boss Again Top-Paid Public Executive

By JAMES BROOKS
Alaska Beacon
    The head of the state corporation in charge of a long-planned trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline is once again Alaska’s top-paid public executive.
    Frank Richards, president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corp., received $479,588 in compensation during 2023, according to the latest version of the state’s annual executive compensation report, released in January.
    Compensation includes salary as well as things like cashed-out leave, moving expenses and travel costs. Some “other” compensation was included atop Richards’ salary in 2023, but that didn’t materially affect the rankings. He has been Alaska’s top-paid executive since 2021.
    The annual compensation report includes only executives, not all public employees, but Richards has traditionally topped the list among all employees as well.
    The state’s second-highest-paid executive in 2023 was University of Alaska President Pat Pitney, according to the report. She was compensated $403,848.
    Pitney was followed by Alaska Railroad President and CEO Bill O’Leary, at $382,616; Alaska Housing Finance Corp. Executive Director Bryan Butcher, $356,387; and Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. Executive Director Deven Mitchell, $350,134.
    Gov. Mike Dunleavy received $144,536 in compensation during 2023, the report said. Under a plan adopted last year by a state commission, the governor’s salary will rise to about $176,000, and the salaries of state commissioners will be about $168,000.
    There is no single ranking of all state employees’ gross compensation; overtime and bonus pay can add tens of thousands of dollars to the salaries of regular employees, and specialists can earn as much as the state’s executives.
    A 2022 analysis of all executive branch employees’ compensation found a forensic psychiatrist who grossed $415,000 during the state’s 2021 fiscal year, likely making him the state’s No. 2 top-paid employee during that period.
    State legislators’ compensation during 2023 is listed in a separate report. Last year, legislators received a salary of $50,407.50, relocation expenses, travel expenses, office expenses (up to $20,000 for senators or $12,000 for Representatives) and $307 per legislative-session day for personal expenses. The Senate President and Speaker of the House receive an extra $500 atop their normal salaries.
    The highest-compensated legislator in 2023 was Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, who received $154,103.98. He was followed by Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin, $153,278.39; Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, $144,117.23; Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, $141,962.39; and Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, $139,541.54.
    Those figures do not include a pay increase effective in 2024. Starting this year, legislators will be paid $84,000 salary.
    According to the latest available data, Alaska’s average annual wage is $68,568.

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https://alaskabeacon.com/james-brooks

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20 YEARS AGO

May 2004

Sitka High sophomore Dianne Chong was named Athlete of the Meet at the Region V track and field championships in Juneau, as she won the long jump, triple jump and 100-meter IM hurdles. Other Wolves winners were Joy Ribao, Megan Lehmann, Greg Hunter and Kyle Ainslie.

50 YEARS AGO

May 1974

 The new Sheldon Jackson College Library will be officially dedicated Friday. Remarks will be made by Elmer Rasmuson, National Bank of Alaska; Dr. Orin Stratton, SJC president from 1966 to 1973; Mrs. Betty Stratton; and current SJC president Robert C. Uddenberg. Keys to the $675,000 building will be presented to Mrs. Evelyn Bonner, head librarian.

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