The annual report shows that public school superintendents, state agency heads lead the list.

On Wednesday, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) released its annual Fat Cat Report, providing the public with a list of the state’s highest-paid officials.

MCPP notes that Mississippi’s 50 highest-paid public officials make more money than all 50 of America’s state governors.

The 2022 Mississippi Fat Cat report shows that the state’s “Fat Cats,” as MCPP labels them, are getting fatter and receiving large pay increases, adding that the top public-sector official pay grows twice as fast as other public-sector workers’ pay.  For example, the superintendent of the Humphreys County School District saw a 102-percent salary increase from last year, making their pay from a little less than $90,000 to now $182,000.

“The public has a right to know how public money gets spent,” explained Douglas Carswell, President and CEO of the MCPP. “Our report shows that salaries for top public officials in our state are rising fast. The Fat Cats are getting fatter.”

MCPP says that more “Fat Cats” means fewer nurses, teachers and police officers, and these high-paid officials are largely unaccountable, with only four of the 50 being elected. School district superintendents dominate the “Fat Cat” list.

Of the 50 highest-paid public officials, 26 are school superintendents, many from the worst-rated districts. MCPP cites Claiborne County School District’s superintendent as an example. That superintendent makes a little over $200,000. While some superintendents oversee thousands of students and carry out demanding tasks, MCPP says Claiborne County has an F rating with only 1,326 students.

The report also reviews and outlines public school superintendents’ salaries across the state by their rating.

MCPP states that the only directly democratically accountable officials on their list are judges.

Several state officials saw what MCPP calls “extreme increases” as well, such as the Public Relations Team Lead for the Department of Education who received a 128-percent raise, amounting to yearly pay of $160,425, and the Executive Director of the Department of Transportation who makes $183,000, a 45-percent increase from last year.

MCPP listed several policy proposals in its report to hold public officials accountable and combat excessive spending, including legislative-approved salary increases, salary formulas for superintendents, amending the Mississippi code and capping public sector pay to that below the governor’s pay.

“In summary, the report shows that government waste does not happen in a vacuum,” Carswell said. “An overpaid bureaucrat is ultimately feeding off the pocketbooks of citizens. It’s time to put the Mississippi Fat Cats on a diet of lower salaries so that taxpayer dollars can be protected from waste.”

You can read the full report by clicking here.