Wisconsin’s top compensated public employee, David Villa of
the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, was awarded $699,145 in compensation for 2013,
an increase from the previous year.
According to Department of Administration data reviewed by Gannett Media Company, 27 of the top 50 highest-earning state employees are also
employed by the investment board, including eight of the top 10 paid state employees.
The other two employees in the top 10 were an administrative policy adviser for the Workforce Development Department and a
physician manager in the Department of Health Services, according to the data.
The Investment Board is the organization that presides over the Wisconsin Retirement and State Investment Fund and covers funds for Wisconsin’s public employees. The board manages $91 billion in funds, not including UW System employee funds.
This year, Investment Board staff also earned a total of $583 million because of their market performance.
Villa’s salary is the result of incentive pay, a staple of
the compensation equations for board executives, board spokesperson Vicki
Hearing said incentive pay is not an increase in pay, but is
used when the board surpasses certain financial goals set by the nine member Board of Trustees.
The governor appoints six public trustees, which are approved by the state Senate. Each trustee serve a six-year term. Current
trustee members include Lon Roberts, Thomas Boldt, Bruce Colburn, Sandra
Claflin-Chalton, Bob Conlin, Norman Cummings, William H. Levit Jr. and Mike
Huebsch, DOA secretary.
Five of the six public trustees generally have 10-plus years of either investment,
financial or local government experience.
Hearing said the board sets the compensation plan
for employees, which link together pay and performance for qualified staff.
Increase in compensation can also be predetermined outside the board of
“We can either pay our own staff or pay outside managers
more than three times the money to manage a majority of the funds,” Hearing
said. “In addition, we would be paying fees to managers located outside
Wisconsin. Given this choice, we think it makes sense to hire talented
investment professionals and pay them competitive compensation.”
Hearing added the salaries for the Wisconsin Investment Board
are much less than financial firms located on the East Coast and West Coast.
State of Wisconsin Investment Board salaries are also paid at the median pay of other banks and insurance
Among the state’s other top-earners are those employed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services or the Department of Corrections as health professionals, according to the data. State employees receiving the lowest salaries are a
contingent of state fair workers and
general labors for the Department of Natural Resources.
While the DOA releases information regarding employee
salaries, they do not release information regarding employee benefits.
DOA spokesperson Stephanie Marquis also did not respond for comment.