Capitol Alert

How did a California special agent take home almost $695,000 last year?

A special agent supervisor at the state Department of Justice received more than $695,000 in total wages last year, among the highest salaries reported in the latest batch of state department, California State University and superior court compensation data from the State Controller’s Office.

Not bad for a position with a salary range that tops out at about $106,000.

The reported total wages for the position actually reflect a Department of Justice lawsuit payment to the unidentified employee, a department spokesman said.

Aside from that anomaly, this week’s data update follows past pay patterns. Theodore H. Eliopoulos, the chief investment officer for pension giant CalPERS, had the highest reported total wages of any state department employee in 2016, at $762,761. The state prison system’s court-appointed health care receiver, Douglas Peterson, received total wages of $710,864, closely followed by the $710,815 received by Vernon L. Steiner, the president and CEO of the State Compensation Insurance Fund.

Overall, 149 state departments paid an average of $67,601 to 247,177 positions, an increase of about 3 percent from an average of $65,726 to 246,497 state department employees in 2015. The median salary last year was $62,699.

The Controller’s Office also released 2016 salary data for California State University and superior courts. At California State University, 119,475 workers earned an average total wage of $27,226. In the courts, 18,782 workers earned an average of $69,510.