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.


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

This fact-based local reporting drives impact and creates change. Help power that impact.

James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” PublicSource exists to help the Pittsburgh region face its realities and create opportunities for change. When we shine a light on inequity in our region, like the “completely unacceptable” conditions in low-income housing in McKeesport, things change. When we ask questions about policymakers’ decisions, like how Allegheny County is handling COVID-19 safety for its employees, things change. When we push for transparency on issues that affect the public, like in the use of facial recognition software by Pittsburgh police, things change.

It takes a lot of time, skill and resources to produce journalism like this. Our stories are always made available for free so that they can benefit the most people, regardless of ability to pay. But as an independent, nonprofit newsroom, we count on donations from our readers to support this crucial work. Can you make a contribution of any amount (or better yet, set up a recurring monthly gift) to help ensure we can continue to report on what matters and tell stories for a better Pittsburgh?