Pity the poor minion at Utah Transit Authority (UTA) who had to write UTA Board Chair Larry Ellertson’s op-ed for him (published in last Sunday’s Tribune). It must be a distasteful task trying to come up with credible justification for paying the oaf above you something like 10 times what you yourself make in a very good year. But was the p.r. flack trying to be funny when she/he went after BYU economics professor Michael Ransom for pointing out that UTA top boss John Inglish’s salary and bonuses are entirely unreasonable in light of UTA’s miserable performance? Ransom provided a battery of depressing facts to back up his argument. Ellertson’s op-ed writer opens with the risible claim that 150 public employees in Utah are paid more than Inglish, so hey, $339,179 is actually not that much money.
Who are these vastly overpaid public servants? Certainly not the governor, nor any mayors…think again, because the answer isn’t immediately obvious. Why, if you compare John Inglish’s salary (not including $175,000 bonus and limo service) to some highly specialized doctors and athletic coaches at the University of Utah, you’ll find John Inglish planted right at number 150 on the list. And that’s exactly the best UTA’s p.r. department can come up with. If you add in his bonus, he floats up to somewhere around slot number 37, right between a couple of dermatology professors and ahead of a host of neurosurgeons, and actually ahead of the President of the United States if you think about it.
That’s right: what John Inglish is doing at UTA is so complicated and important that it’s on a par with the public service known as brain surgery. Next time you hop on the bus, think of it kind of like a gurney.