Who will be paid the most in DeWine’s cabinet? Hint: It’s not DeWine

Randy Gardner, higher education. JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

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Randy Gardner, higher education. JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine won’t be the highest paid state official in his cabinet: Randy Gardner, the nominee for higher education chancellor, will have the top salary.

Gardner, a Republican lawmaker from Bowling Green, is set to make just more than $190,000 a year. That’s almost $36,000 more than the governor’s annual salary of about $154,200.

RELATED: Doctors top highest paid list for state workers

Gardner, who was the second longest-serving lawmaker with 33 years experience, will be in charge of higher education policy and oversight of the state’s 14 public universities and 22 community colleges that serve a half-million students.

Data obtained from the DeWine administration by the Dayton Daily News details the salaries for 42 top aides and cabinet members, 37 of whom will be paid more than $100,000 a year.

Each governor gets to determine the pay for his or her cabinet members. But the governor and the lieutenant governor’s salaries are set by law.

Cabinet members oversee large, complex programs. That includes Ohio Medicaid, a health insurance program for 3 million low-income and disabled Ohioans.

The state prison system employs 12,000 workers and incarcerates 49,000 inmates. And the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, a state insurance program for 244,000 employers, has about 750,000 open claims.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted will be paid about $181,200, but that’s because it also includes pay for his duties as head of Innovate Ohio, an initiative to improve the use of technology and streamline government operations.

READ MORE: Husted will lead several state initiatives

DETAILS: Lawmakers vote to give themselves pay hike

In 2017, there were 108 state employees who were paid more than $190,000. Typically it’s doctors, nurses and medical specialists working in the state’s prison and mental health systems that make the most money among state workers.

The state employs a wide array of professionals: prison guards, truck drivers, college interns, doctors, lawyers, computer programmers, scientists, auditors, troopers and more.

RELATED: 108 state workers made more than $190k in 2017

DeWine’s nominees for cabinet-level posts are subject to confirmation by the Ohio Senate. He has yet to nominate a director of the Ohio Department of Health or the Ohio Lottery Commission.

DeWine is expected to appoint a commissioner to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio within 30 days — and that person could be named chairman.

MORE COVERAGE: DeWine to name commissioner to powerful board

So far, DeWine has named a diverse group to his cabinet and top aide positions. Of the 35 named, 20 are women and 15 are men; seven are African-American.

That’s a departure from 2011 when Kasich’s cabinet picks were dominated by white men.

RELATED: Kasich defends Cabinet despite diversity dispute

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