Twenty state government employees at Tulsa Community College earned over $100,000 a year

Only the president of Tulsa Community College, President Thomas K. McKeon, earned more than the governor of Oklahoma in Fiscal Year 2010. McKeon was paid $258,441 that year. Then-Governor Brad Henry was paid $147,000 a year, the same amount his successor, Mary Fallin, is paid now.

Nineteen other employees at this public institution of Higher Education in the Sooner State’s second largest city were paid more than $100,000 a year.

Leading the way among those employees who are paid less than the state’s chief executive but more than $100,000 annually was Provost Peggy D. Dyer, at $128,371. Vice President Ricky N. Baser (also chief academic officer) was paid $128,000 for work in FY 2010, while External Affairs Vice President Lauryn F. Brookey earned $127,939.

Flo E. Potts, provost at one of the system’s campuses, was paid $111,721, while Mary P. Hunter, a teacher, was paid $118,474. Professor William A. Smith was paid $107,271; Associate Dean Mary P. Walker $106,224; Prof. James A. Morrow $104,855; Human Resources Executive Patricia L. Fischer gained $104,832; while Lonnie E. Hobbs was paid $104,040.

Three professors in the system were compensated as follows: Jane Hammontree ($103,614), Kenneth J. Blankemeyer ($103,199), and Mari B. Hixon ($102,744). David L. Lawless was paid $102,675.

Rounding out top paid employees in the TCC system were: Professors Miriam L. May ($102,656), Antonio J. Alonso ($102,331) and William R. Derrevere ($102,133); and Provost Carol O. Messer (paid $101,664, she retired in spring 2011) and Messer’s successor as provost, Brett S. Campbell (paid $101,664 in FY 2010).

In Fiscal Year 2010, the most recent year for which comprehensive information is available, payroll at TCC reached $64,693,830, according to public data compiled at Considered another way, personnel costs in FY 2010 roughly equaled the entire system’s budget in FY 2003.

CapitolBeatOK is studying personnel costs in the state’s Higher Education system. Oklahoma’s chief executives are paid $147,000 a year. CapitolBeatOK has found that 877 state employees were paid more than the governor in Fiscal Year 2010. All but 52 of those individuals were in Higher Education.
Further, a total of 2,605 public employees in state government earned $100,000 and up. Only 519 of those were not in the Higher Ed system.

Moving beyond personnel costs, total spending at TCC has been above $100 million every year since 2008. In his examination of total spending, Peter J. Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog found that TCC “is spending less in FY 2012 than it did in FY2011 despite increases in its three main sources of revenue. … TCC saw a decrease in spending of around a million dollars for the current fiscal year which is just under 1 percent of its total budget.”

This year’s small reduction in spending is the only reduction in spending for the Tulsa Community College system, event though state government tax revenues have been lower each of the past three years. Rudy noted, “Even with the decline this year, spending is still 2 percent higher than FY 2010.” 

A graph tracking the system’s spending illustrates the average TCC spending increase of 4.9 percent per year since Fiscal year 2003. The FY 2012 budget for TCC is 53 percent higher than 10 years ago.

As is the case statewide in taxpayer-funded colleges and universities, TCC “is relying less on state appropriations for its funding.”

Specifically for TCC, “In FY 2003, school funding broke down to 43 percent from the state, 34 percent from ad valorem taxes and 21 percent from student tuition and fees. For the current year, the funding stream has shifted to 32 percent from the state, 31 percent from ad valorem taxes and 34 percent from tuition and fees.”

Rudy reported last month, “All told, the top three revenue sources for TCC increased from $105.6-million to $109.5-million.  The decrease came primarily from the loss of $2.5-million in stimulus funds, a slight decrease in grants and starting with a smaller fund balance.  TCC will actually increase its unobligated reserve balance by $1.3-million for FY2012 to over $15-million which is almost 14% of its budget.”