What’s the right number for pay?

Perhaps because our parents told us it's impolite to ask people how much money they make, we're all fascinated with what other people -- especially highly compensated ones -- are paid.

Recently there have been a number of lists of the salaries of highly placed Pennsylvania people in both the public and private sector. PublicSource thinks that the remuneration of those who have a big impact on the state through their jobs is important. If they're paid with public money, it goes without saying that they should be transparent about salaries. They're paid with your money.

If the money is private, shareholders and the people who work for them should know and judge whether they're worth it.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently did the work so readers could see who the 50 highest paid executives are in the region. It turns out these officials made an average of $7.3 million in salary, perks, stock and other forms of pay for their company's most recent fiscal year. That's nearly a 12 percent raise over the previous year's list.

The local companies with the largest number of executives on the list were Allegheny Technologies, H.J. Heinz Co., PNC Financial Services, Mylan Inc. and Federated Investors. You can see the Post-Gazette story and the list of salaries below.

Meanwhile, in the academic world, The Chronicle of Higher Education has filled us in on the salaries of university professors and presidents. Former Penn State President Graham Spanier was the fourth highest paid president at a public university, according to the Chronicle, with compensation of $1,068,763 before he was forced out of his job. See the list below.

We'll have to wait till next year to find out what new Penn State President Rodney Erickson's overall income is.

According to another Chronicle report, the highest paid full professors in the state are at the University of Pennsylvania. Their salaries are at $181,600, while full professors at Penn State make $132,100.

In the future, PublicSource will provide you with more information about what public servants, and some private ones, are paid. We think it's important to hold people in positions of power to account.

Resources

The Fortune 500 (.pdf) - The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Presidential pay is still a potent political target - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Highest-Paid Public-College Presidents, 2011 (Interactive Graph) - The Chronicle of Higher Education