Turns out, state’s colleges are not

When you search a database on a state-run website that shows salaries of state employees, you might expect to find the salaries of state employees.

For instance, on the state-run website TransparentNH, we found salary information for Gov. Maggie Hassan, who made $104,247 in 2013, the last year the database was updated.

The names and salaries of various commissioners, assistant commissioners, judges, and other state employees are also available.

But if you look for salary information about the presidents and employees of UNH, Keene State, Plymouth State, Granite State College or the Community College System of New Hampshire, you won’t find them on the state’s website.

It’s not TransparentNH’s fault.

Joe Bouchard, assistant commissioner for the Department of Administrative Services, said the university and community college systems are “standalone entities from an operational perspective,” attached to the state only for funding purposes.

“Technically, they’re not part of state government,” said Tiffany Eddy, a spokeswoman for the University System of New Hampshire. “USNH is not a state agency.”

She’s right. While most people may think of “state” colleges as state colleges, they’re not, which is why their employees or those of CCSNH don’t show up on the TransparentNH list.

The University System of New Hampshire, which oversees UNH, Keene State, Plymouth State and Granite State College, is actually a non-profit, independent entity created by the Legislature.

Sure, they get state money – a total of about $150 million in the current biennium for USNH , and a little over $80 million for CCSNH, according a chart published by the governor’s office – but they’re not state agencies and their workers are not state employees. (Eddy said USNH gets only 8 percent of its funding from the state.)

Eddy said USNH salary information “doesn’t live online,” but there is a list that gets compiled periodically and sent out to selected locations. “Anyone can call the office” and request a copy under the Right-to-Know Law, she said.

We asked for the list and an electronic copy was emailed to us right away. We saw that UNH President Mark Huddleston – who is not a state employee – made $385,000 in salary, in addition to the free housing, car and other perks of his job. The salaries of other college presidents were on the list, too.

But why hasn’t the salary information been put online by the University System, as the state has done? Eddy said it’s been talked about and will probably happen eventually. But, she added, “That’s a lot of names.”

But it’s easily done – so easy that even newspaper editors can do it.

With the list USNH provided us this week, The Telegraph compiled a searchable database of salaries for everybody from professors to coaches and staff at UNH, UNH-Manchester, Keene State and Plymouth State. It took two days.

You can find it on our website at www.nashuatelegraph.com/specialreportsopengovernment/

We’ve requested a similar list from the Community College System, and will create a searchable database as soon as we receive it.

We don’t think USNH or CCSNH officials are engaged in a grand conspiracy, but with dozens upon dozens of employees earning upward of $100,000 – and more than a few making more than $200,000 – we understand why they may not be eager to put the information out there where it’s easily accessible.

So if you’re a cook at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton, your name and salary is listed on the state’s searchable website. But if you pull down a six-figure salary at one of the “state” colleges – the same ones that claim to be on the cutting edge of technology – those institutions have no online salary list for the public to see.

State agency or not, that doesn’t seem quite right.