Nearly $2M goes to top public salaries

By: By Kristy D. Carter -

Approximately $1.7 million is spent each year on the salaries of top local administrators from the hospital, the community college, both public school systems and county government.

No municipal leaders in the city of Clinton nor any of the county’s area towns were among the 10 highest paid administrative salaries for public agencies.

The Sampson Independent requested and received the salaries of all the employees from these public entities. In addition to the yearly salaries, all earn benefits such as retirement and insurance, while others receive a travel allowance or yearly supplements, which is included in the salary report.

Three of the top five salaries are earned by employees of the local hospital.

For the purposes of this report, this top 10 list omits physician leadership and medical director positions through the hospital. While the hospital is a public entity, it does not receive taxpayer funding and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Other positions on this list are funded in whole or in part through tax dollars at the local, state or federal level or some combination of two or more.

Based on the information received from all financial officers or human resource personnel, Dr. Shawn Howerton, the chief executive officer and chief medical officer for Sampson Regional Medical Center, is the highest paid employee in a public entity in Sampson County.

Howerton’s annual salary is $308,395.

Howerton has 15 years of experience in the medical field, with six years of senior executive leadership experience. The hospital’s leader has a long list of duties and staff to supervise, but his primary job is to oversee all hospital and system-wide operations.

The second highest paid public employee in the county is Jerry Heinzman, the chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance and human resources for the hospital, with an annual salary of $225,734.

Heinzman has a total of 31 years of experience in the industry, with 18 years of senior financial leadership experience.

Sampson Community College president Dr. Paul Hutchins falls in the third slot, with a salary of $182,592.

Hutchins has five years of experience as the president of Sampson Community College. His primary responsibility is to have full authority and responsibility for the development of the institution under the polices and regulations of the Board of Trustees and the State Board of Community Colleges.

Hutchins has announced his plans to retire in May 2018 after serving the local college for six years.

Sampson County manager Ed Causey is the fourth highest paid employee in the county with an annual salary of $151,140.

Causey has been with Sampson County since May 2010. He serves as the administrative head of the county government for the Board of Commissioners and is responsible for administration of all departments of the county government. The county manager has worked in government for over two decades.

Sampson Regional Medical Center’s Allison Taylor, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of clinical operations falls in the fifth spot. Taylor has 22 years of total experience in the industry, with 13 years of leadership experience.

Taylor’s salary is $146,667.

While Taylor has many responsibilities, she is held accountable for planning, organizing, directing, coordinating and evaluating the activities of nursing and other clinical areas as assigned.

Sixth in the Top 10 is Sampson County Schools superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy, with an annual salary of $145,327.

Bracy has 20 years of experience in education and is responsible for supervising administrative, instructional and support personnel and providing administrative leadership to all school personnel in carrying out the goals and objectives of Sampson County Schools. Bracy heads a system with 18 schools and over 8,500 students.

Kelly Lucas, SRMC’s chief information officer and vice president, falls in the seventh slot of salaries studied at $142,673.

Lucas has 20 years of experience in the industry and 15 years of experience in the leadership role. Among his duties, he provides technology vision and leadership in the development and implementation of the affiliate-wide information technology program.

Sampson Community College vice president of academic affairs and administration, Dr. Bill Starling, who has 39 years of experience with the local community college, is eighth on the list with a salary of $141,792.

Starling is responsible for working with all college employees to promote a student-centered campus environment to achieve the college’s mission. He is part of the President’s Council and is responsible for planning, managing and evaluating all curriculum, occupational, continuing education and basic skills areas of the college.

Dr. Stuart Blount, superintendent of Clinton City Schools, is the ninth highest on the list, with an annual salary of $138,220.

Blount has 28 years of experience in the education field and has served as Clinton City’s superintendent for the the last five and a half years.

He is responsible for overseeing and managing the daily operation of Clinton City Schools, which has five schools and over 3,100 students.

The final position in the Top 10 also belongs to a hospital administrator, with an annual salary of $136,001.

This salary belongs to Pamela Barefoot, director of pharmacy. She has 22 years of experience and 11 years in the leadership level. Barefoot is responsible for all activities associated with safe medication administration to patients and manages pharmacy staff, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other support personnel to ensure all functions and activities are performed competently, safely, and without risk of harm to patients.

Sampson’s top 10 administrative salaries listed

By Kristy D. Carter

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.