NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is paying his department heads significantly more than their counterparts made in the administration of the former Democratic governor.
An Associated Press analysis of public salary records shows that Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman is making $200,000 per year, up $20,000 from the previous administration. Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons is making $43,000 more than his predecessor.
Haslam, who took office in January, also raised the minimum salary for agency heads by 11 percent to $150,000. The governor, who has proposed a 1.6 percent raise for state employees, told AP the higher salaries for department heads are designed to make the jobs more competitive with the private sector.
The last increase in commissioner pay was in 2007, when then-Gov. Phil Bredesen set the range at $135,000 to $180,000.