by Nyamekye Daniel
Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry has received a $100,000 raise, making him one of the highest-paid unelected state officials in Georgia.
The State Transportation Board unanimously approved McMurry’s 29% raise Thursday without debate, increasing his salary from $350,000 to $450,000.
McMurry started his career with the department in 1990. He was the planning director before being appointed commissioner by the board in 2015.
McMurry’s salary in fiscal year 2015 was more than $165,000. McMurry’s salary climbed from $185,000 in fiscal year 2016 to $250,000 in fiscal year 2017 and $336,000 in fiscal year 2018. He used an average of $6,900 in travel expenses over the past six years.
As transportation commissioner, McMurry oversees the 10th-largest state transportation system in the country with an operating budget of $3.4 billion and 4,000 employees.
McMurry’s raise puts his salary behind Georgia Port Authority Executive Director Griffith Lynch’s $829,000 salary in fiscal year 2020, records show. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley made $524,000 in fiscal year 2020, according to records.
The top-paid state agency, commission or authority employee in fiscal year 2020, however, was Charles Cary, chief investment officer for the teachers’ retirement system. Records show Cary made more than $980,000 in fiscal year 2020.
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Nyamekye Daniel is a regular contributor to The Center Square. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times.
Photo “Commissioner: Russell R. McMurry” by Georgia Department of Transportation.