Spending on state employee pay in 2022 grew at the fastest rate in years \u2013 nearly a 10 percent jump year-over year \u2013 and topped $5 billion for the first time, even as the state\u2019s workforce shrunk. The $460 million surge in the total amount paid was driven primarily by a $360 million jump in base pay, data from Connecticut\u2019s Office of the State Comptroller show. Other categories saw significant increases, too. Spending on overtime pay rose by $26 million, or about 8 percent, and \u201cother\u201d pay \u2013 which includes shift differential, hazardous duty and meal payments \u2013 spending soared by $77 million, or 48 percent, according to the data.Officials in the state Comptroller\u2019s office said factors driving the pay spending increase included retroactive payments from new contracts forged between the state and unionized employees as well as payouts to an increasing number of retiring workers for paid-time off they accrued but had not used.\u00a0 Retirements also contributed to a decrease in the state government\u2019s workforce. In 2021, a total of about 51,500 employees worked for the state; In 2022, the figure dropped to 49,468, state data show. Still, John McKay, a spokesperson for the Department of Administrative Services, said in an email, retirements did not surge to levels officials had anticipated previously. Patrick Gibson, who closely examines state finance issues, said while he wasn\u2019t sure of all of the factors that drove spending up in 2022, the pandemic may have contributed to state employees working more overtime than usual last year to handle emergencies. \u201cThat could be kind of a lingering aspect of [COVID-19],\u201d said Gibson, deputy executive director for data, policy and special projects at the School and State Finance Project based in Hamden. Another factor could be new hires to fill roles left vacant in previous years, including due to retirement, Gibson said.\u00a0 Even with the sharp increase in 2022, Gibson said the state has been relatively successful at keeping the costs in check \u2013 both in terms of the number of workers and their compensation \u201cLess people work for the state than they did 10 or 15 years ago,\u201d Gibson said. \u201cBut we know that costs increase over time.\u201d The total amount paid to state employees, not including fringe benefits, accounted for about 25 percent of the state\u2019s total general fund expenditures. The total general fund appropriations were $21.2 billion for fiscal year 2022, according to Madi Csejka, a spokesperson for the Comptroller\u2019s office.\u00a0 A total of nearly 86,000 workers across 87 agencies received at least some pay from the state during 2022. Of that total, about 61,000 held full-time roles at some point during 2022; they made a median of about $73,000, which includes overtime and other pay. Hearst Connecticut Media Group analyzed data from the Comptroller\u2019s office, which makes public the details of every paycheck state employees receive. Here are some additional takeaways: UConn and the Department of Correction continue to lead state agencies in the total amount paid to employees The state agency with the largest amount paid to its employees in 2022 was the University of Connecticut ($687.55 million). Its spending increased by about 12 percent from 2021 to 2022. Among state agencies, UConn is one of the largest employers with over 5,000 permanent full and part-time workers at its Storrs and regional campuses, according to Stephanie Reitz, a spokesperson for the university. It serves almost 32,100 students and has experienced a 67% increase in undergraduate enrollment over the past 25 years.\u00a0 The total amount paid reflects a range of temporary and part-time employees \u201cwhose positions are necessary at a university, but uncommon or non-existent at many other state agencies, such as adjunct faculty, on-campus student workers, UConn Extension educators, and others,\u201d Reitz said in an email. The collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, which represents workers at UConn and other state agencies across the CT, included a raise that was retroactive to July 1, 2021, another pay increase that took hold on July 1, 2022 as well as lump-sum one-time payments. All of these are reflected in the employee compensation figures, she said. \u201cAt a time when the state simultaneously faces a staffing shortage and a multi-billion dollar budget surplus, these raises are fair, affordable, and necessary to ensure Connecticut has the workforce required to provide vital public services to the residents and businesses in Connecticut,\u201d Michael Bailey, executive director of UConn AAUP and SEBAC leader, said in an email. The cost of those increases in the Storrs and regional campuses operating budget was \u201capproximately $52 million, or three-quarters of the 12 percent spending [increase],\u201d Reitz said.\u00a0 Reitz added: \u201cGiven [UConn\u2019s] growth and its size as a major employer in the state\u2019s higher education sector, it is not surprising that its payroll total as reflected by the Comptroller\u2019s Office would reflect its significant breadth.\u201d\u00a0 The Department of Correction had the second largest amount paid to its employees ($536.54 million) last year. Its spending increased by about 10.5 percent from the same time period.\u00a0 The largest employer among state agencies, the DOC employs 5,688 staff, said department spokesperson Ashley McCarthy. McCarthy said several factors account for the agency\u2019s high total amount paid to its employees. The agency pays large sums in overtime pay to workers covering for colleagues who are unavailable to fill their normal posts. And, there has been a heightened number of staff on leave due for various reasons, including employees recovering at home from COVID-19.\u00a0 \u201cThe number of staff impacted by COVID-19 increased in 2022 when compared to 2021,\u201d McCarthy said.\u00a0 The agency also saw a high volume of retirements last year. But McCarthy said that trend has since \u201cstabilized\u201d and the agency is working to hire additional correction officers.\u00a0 UConn and its health system top the list of highest paid employees Kevin Ollie, former UConn men\u2019s basketball coach, received the highest payout from the state in 2022, at nearly $11.15 million. But that was an anomaly. The one-time sum came from an arbitration case he won against the school in early 2022 after claiming he was wrongfully terminated from his role in 2018. The next-highest paid state employee was Geno Auriemma, the UConn women\u2019s basketball coach, who made about $3.8 million in 2022, followed by men\u2019s basketball coach Dan Hurley, who made $3.1 million and football coach Jim Mora, who made $1.6 million.\u00a0 Together, the top 10 highest-paid full-time employees of the state government brought home about $27.1 million in 2022; six employees from the list were also some of the top paid employees from 2021. All 10 of the highest paid state employees worked for either the University of Connecticut or its health system. Reitz said UConn competed for talent with major institutions nationwide and pay is \u201cdriven by national and regional markets along with the experience and skill set of each individual.\u201d\u00a0\u00a0\u201cThis applies across the board to researchers, administrators, coaches, physicians, and others whose skills are in high demand, and whose talents have helped to elevate UConn to its current high ranks in various areas,\u201d Reitz said. UConn Health employees on the list are also surgeons in high demand for their skills and several are directors of specific programs or departments. \u201cIn fact, the five UConn Health physicians on your list collectively generated more than $20 million in 2022 in clinical care revenue for UConn Health \u2013 nearly quadruple their total combined salaries,\u201d Reitz said. \u201cThis revenue is critical to UConn Health, since about 50 percent of its revenues come from its clinical operation and state support accounts for about 25 percent.\u201d\u00a0Just two of the 10 highest-paid employees were women. A 2021 report by the state Comptroller\u2019s office and UConn researchers said a projected surge in state worker retirements presents an opportunity for the state to address pay equity issues and disparities around gender, race, and ethnicity in the workforce, said Csejka. \u201cOur recent analysis shows that Connecticut is a leader among public-sector employers when it comes to representation and pay equity, particularly at the leadership level,\u201d Csejka said. \u201cWe as a state should continue to find ways to ensure that we have reliable data to inform critical ongoing equity analyses, whether it involves hiring practices, health care or other programs and policies.\u201d Data shows about 2,600 full-time state employees made more than the governor was entitled to make in 2022. Under state law, the governor was entitled to a salary last year of $150,000 but Lamont, who is independently wealthy, has not accepted a salary since he took office. Officials in Governor Ned Lamont\u2019s office did not respond to requests for comment about the state\u2019s spending on payments to employees. To see the complete list of employees and their compensation for 2022, search our database here. The Department of Correction spent the most in overtime payments The DOC, which runs the state\u2019s prison system, spent about $103 million in overtime in 2022, about 30 percent of the total overtime spent by the state, according to the data. McCarthy said one driver of overtime \u2013 beyond covering for employee leaves and absences \u2013 occurs when staff are unable to assume their assigned post for the duration of the shift due to medical-related trips to a hospital for individuals in custody. \u201cIn 2021, there were 10,063 medical-related trips and in 2022, there were 10,503 medical-related trips,\u201d McCarthy said in an email. Some state agencies paid more than others For example, the median amount paid to employees at the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services was about $84,700 in 2022. Meanwhile, the median pay for a worker at the state Department of Education was about $44,000.