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Alabama ranked 29 among all U.S. states and territories for average state employee salary in 2021. However, its highest-paid employee makes almost double the highest-paid federal employee.

According to OpenPayrolls, Alabama, on average, paid its state employees $53,693.62 per year. The average state employee pay in the South was slightly more at $54,037.93.

The South's average state employee salary was still less than the national average of $58,995.49.

But that doesn't mean the Yellowhammer State isn't issuing some hefty paychecks. Let's look into the highest-paid state employees, who they are, and where they work.

1819 News used data from OpenPayrolls to determine the highest-paid state employees in Alabama in 2021, the latest year for which there's data. State employees work directly for the state of Alabama or one of its executive agencies. 

1. David Bronner: $834,034

  • 2021 Pay: $834,034

  • Sex: Male

  • Agency: Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA)

  • Position: CEO

David Bronner is the head of the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), which runs the pension fund for Alabama's state employees. He is the highest-paid state employee in Alabama, raking in a whopping $834,034 in 2021, almost twice the salary of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highest-paid federal employee. 

Bronner was born in Iowa and grew up in Minnesota. He came to Alabama to attend law school at the University of Alabama and later received a Ph.D. He assumed his current job at the RSA in 1973.

2. Mary Hunter Harrell: $485,335

  • 2021 Pay: $485,335

  • Sex: Female

  • Agency: Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA)

  • Position: Director of Private Placements

According to Pensions & Investments, Mary Hunter Harrell is the RSA's director of private placements. Not much could be found about her other than that she helped the retirement systems acquire a newspaper publisher in 2019, which was not the RSA's first acquisition in the print industry.

3. Donald Yancey $482,947.12

  • 2021 Pay: $482,947.12

  • Sex: Male

  • Agency: Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA)

  • Position: Deputy Director

Donald Yancey is the deputy director of the RSA. Yancey took the job in 2012 after spending 38 years in the Teacher's Retirement System. He received his bachelor's degree from Huntington College, and his master's from Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM). He also received a law degree from Jones Law School and served as a Naval Officer during the Vietnam War. 

4. Robert Marc Green: $372,922

  • 2021 Pay: $372,922

  • Sex: Male

  • Agency: Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA)

  • Position: Chief Investment Officer (CIO)

Robert Marc Green was named CIO of the RSA in 2004. Prior to that, he served as the director of equities for six years. He earned a bachelor's degree from Tulane University and an MBA from AUM.

5. Julie Barranco: $368,503.12

  • 2021 Pay: $368,503.12

  • Sex: Female

  • Agency: Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA)

  • Position: Director of Fixed Income

According to her LinkedIn profile, Barranco has served as the Director of Fixed Income for the RSA for 27 years. She received a bachelor's degree from Auburn University and an MBA from AUM before working for The Bronner Group as an analyst.  

6. James K Lyons: $358,884.37

  • 2021 Pay: $358,884.37

  • Sex: Male

  • Agency: State Port Authority

  • Position: Director and CEO (Former)

Though James K Lyons retired at the end of 2020, the State of Alabama reported pay of $358,884.37 to Lyons in 2021, according to OpenPayrolls. Lyons serves as the director and CEO of the State Port Authority, which oversees the port in Mobile. He was replaced by California executive John Driscoll in 2021. 

7. John Driscoll: $351,990

  • 2021 Pay: $351,990

  • Sex: Male

  • Agency: State Port Authority

  • Position: Director and CEO (Current)

Driscoll received $351,990 in 2021 as director and CEO of the State Port Authority. He previously served as a port director in Oakland, California, and worked for a shipping company before that. 

8. William Ashmore $340,540.31

  • 2021 Pay: $340,540.31

  • Sex: Male

  • Agency: State Employee's Insurance Board

  • Position: CEO

William Ashmore is the CEO of the State Employees' Insurance Board. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting from Auburn University before serving in several different insurance-related positions for the state.

9. Diane Scott: $322,094

  • 2021 Pay: $322,094

  • Sex: Female 

  • Agency: Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA)

  • Position: Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Diane Scott is the RSA's chief financial officer (CFO). According to her LinkedIn profile, she received a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama in 1980.

10. Glen Pringle: $320,431.12

  • 2021 Pay: $320,431.12

  • Sex: Male

  • Agency: Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA)

  • Position: ED Director

Glen Pringle is the ED Director of the RSA. He also received a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama. According to the Economic Development Association of Alabama, Pringle played a critical role in recruiting and financing the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance in 1994. He also helped bring the aerospace industry to Huntsville.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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