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Highest-paid in Florida's State University System isn't who you might think

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher makes a nice salary, but his base pay is paltry next to the State University System’s top 5 — all professors in medical disciplines.

Getty Images (2010)

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher makes a nice salary, but his base pay is paltry next to the State University System’s top 5 — all professors in medical disciplines.

Gov. Rick Scott's office has expanded its public records website — floridahasarighttoknow.com — to include the $2.66 billion in salaries for more than 52,000 workers at Florida's 11 universities.

The data is from May and another update is expected next month.

Be warned: The information (like the site's state payroll database) only shows base rates and the state funds that pay those rates. For example, Florida State University football coach Jimbo Fisher has a five-year, $13.75 million contract. But the site shows his base rate of $231,750.

But there is a lot of interesting information in the database. Here are the top five highest salary rates in the State University System:

1. $1.2 million: Dr. Neil Fenske, USF, Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery.

2. $808,437: Dr. William Friedman, UF, Director of the Preston Wells Center for Brain Tumor Therapy.

3. $636,123: Dr. Kevin Behrns, UF, chairman, Department of Surgery.

4. $627,356: Dr. David J. Smith Jr., USF, chairman, Department of Surgery.

5. $612,000: Michael Nussbaum, UF, chairman, College of Medicine-Jacksonville Department of Surgery.

Scott for Cain? Not so fast

It might make sense for Gov. Scott, the lifelong businessman turned governor to endorse Herman Cain, the lifelong businessman turned Republican candidate for president. But don't hold your breath.

During Scott's visit to Clearwater on Monday, we asked the governor who ran on his "7-7-7" jobs plan what he thought about Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan. Specifically, we wanted to know what the antitax Scott thought of Cain's plan to create a 9 percent sales tax.

"I like the fact that we're having a discussion of what sort of taxes we ought to have," said Scott, who is trying to phase out the corporate income tax in Florida. (The personal income tax already is history.) "I think it's important we have constantly lower taxes. My concern about any new tax is does it stop at whatever the number is or does it keep going up?"

That sounds a lot like the rhetoric of anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, who bashed Cain's plan last week on MSNBC's Morning Joe show.

"Having three taxes, all of which can grow — it's like having three needles in your arm taking blood out. It's much more dangerous than having one," Norquist said.

Putnam endorses Romney

Florida Agriculture Commissioner and former U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam is endorsing Mitt Romney for president, becoming the first member of the Florida Cabinet to take sides in the presidential race. Four years ago, Putnam backed Fred Thompson.

"Mitt Romney is a tested conservative and a proven leader. With him in the White House, we can regain our standing abroad and repair our economy at home," said Putnam.

McCalister in an uphill battle

Mike McCalister, the retired Army colonel running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, hasn't received a ton of respect despite polling at or near the top of the field. Part of it is due to questions about him inflating his resume, and part of it is due to fundamental questions about his viability.

Questions about the latter are sure to continue with his latest fundraising haul: $71,000 in the last quarter, according to the campaign, which says he has about $76,000 on hand. Last quarter, McCalister raised about $14,000.

None of the other Republicans are swimming in money, but they're a lot better off.

George LeMieux has $1.02 million on hand; Adam Hasner has $786,000; and Craig Miller has $145,000.

Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson has about $7.5 million and doesn't have to fund a primary campaign.

Times staff writer Aaron Sharockman contributed.

Highest-paid in Florida's State University System isn't who you might think 10/18/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 10:34pm]
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