The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
The 2003-2004 edition of the Official Manual, State of Missouri, better known as the Blue Book, is out. It’s worth looking through for many reasons, not the least that it tells you where a lot of our tax money goes.
Besides some Missouri history, our state symbols, 2002 election results, political party officers, and county officials, we can read a short biography of all the state-level elected officials. Not only that, we can see how much each of them make – matter of fact, wee can see what each state employee was paid, effective July 1, 2003.
For example, the Governor makes $120,000. He has 33 people working for him, including an “assistant to the first lady” earning $40,000. The 35 state senators, who make slightly over $33,000, employ about 200 additional people, while the 165 house members employ around 265 more folks.
To keep our laws enforced, the Attorney General makes $104,000 and has about 400 working in his office. The circuit courts have about 2500 employees and judges, while over 500 work for the public defender commission. The Highway Patrol and Water Patrol have a bit over 2200 folks to keep us safe and catch the bad guys, while the Department of Corrections uses about 12,000 employees to keep track of them when convicted.
The really interesting numbers are for those departments involved with delivering various tyoes of social services. The Department of Mental Health, whose director makes $102,000, has a staff of about 9600. The Department of Social Services, with a $98,000 director, employs around 8300. About 1400 people work for the Veterans Commission, part of the Department of Public Safety. 2200 more belong to the Department of Health and Senior Services. That’s 21,500 state employees.
Education provides an awful lot of state employees. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, headed by a $148,000 director, employs over 2100. The commissioner for the Department of Higher Education only makes $110,000 with a staff of about 80, but the colleges and universities really add up. MU’s president makes $350,000, with 17,000 employees on 4 campuses. The other 10 state colleges and universities combined make do with a bit over 11,000 people. All told, the educational system at state level employs over 30,000.
Stepping “outdoors”, the Department of Natural Resources has about 1850, the Department of Conservation about 1500 and the poor little Department of Agriculture only about 350.
All in all, the state employee list goes on for 534 pages at an average of around 150 names per page – that comes out to over 80,000 people who are “here to help us.” And that doesn’t count people employed by local governments at our schools, cities, and counties.
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