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Betsey Bayless’ $500,000 Taxpayer Funded Salary

Posted: April 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm   /   by

Who Wants to be a Half-Millionaire? Arizona’s Top Paid Unelected Bureaucrat

The controversy surrounding the recent mental health care contract given to Maricopa Integrated Health Systems by the State of Arizona is gaining momentum.  Several local conservative blogs have reported on the story recently.  The contract, which stands to be worth $2 billion to $3 billion (depending on whether the state adopts Medicaid expansion), is the largest health contract the state has ever awarded.

At the center of the controversy is MIHS CEO Betsey Bayless, who is personally being sued by Magellan.  MIHS is a government owned, tax-collecting entity that pays Bayless a hefty annual taxpayer salary to the tune of $500,000.  Earlier this year the Arizona Republic Editorial Board wrote that Bayless’ $125,000 pay hike was “unwise” and “unfair.”

Betsey Bayless’ pay raise alone ($175,000) would put her at number #11 on the list below, still ahead of US Senators and Representatives.

We were so impressed with Bayless’ taxpayer salary that we decided to conduct our own analysis and compare her salary to other taxpayer funded jobs here in Arizona and at the national level.

In short, it would appear that Betsey Bayless is the highest paid bureaucrat in this state.  In fact, Bayless makes more money than the President of the United States.

  1. Betsey Bayless – $500,000
  2. President of the US – $400,000
  3. Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos – $315,000
  4. US Vice President – $230,700
  5. Speaker of the US House – $223,500
  6. Chief Justice, US Supreme Court – $223,500
  7. Assoc. Justice, US Supreme Court – $213,900
  8. US Secretary of State John Kerry- $199,700
  9. Department of Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano – $199,700
  10. US Majority and Minority Leaders – $193,400
  11. Director of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System Tom Betlach – $190,000
  12. US Senator / US Representative – $174,000
  13. Former Chief of Staff for Governor Jan Brewer Eileen Klein – $165,000
  14. Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme Court – $160,000
  15. Lake Havasu City Manager – Charlie Cassesns – $147,500
  16. Head of AZ Department of Revenue John Greene – $145,000
  17. State Gaming Director Mark Brnovich – $135,000
  18. AZ Department of Veterans Affairs Director – $131,980
  19. Lake Havasu City Fire Chief Dennis Mueller – $115,960
  20. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio – $100,824
  21. Governor Jan Brewer – $95,000
  22. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne – $90,000
  23. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton – $88,000
  24. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery – $80,850
  25. Maricopa County Board of Supervisors – $73,756
  26. Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey- $70,000
  27. Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett – $70,000
  28. Phoenix City Council member – $61,600
  29. Beginning salary for a NASA Astronaut – $59,493
  30. Average AZ teacher salary – $46,359
  31. Tucson Mayor – $42,000
  32. Average AZ fireman salary – $40,000
  33. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith – $38,082
  34. Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny – $36,810
  35. Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane – $36,000
  36. Average AZ police officer salary – $31,000
  37. Tucson City Council members – $24,000
  38. Arizona State Representative / State Senator – $24,000
  39. Gilbert Town Council member – $21,000
  40. Chandler City Council member – $20,450
  41. Mesa City Council member – $19,032
  42. Scottsdale City Council member – $18,000
  43. Lake Havasu City Mayor Mark Nexsen – $10,830

NOTE: A previous version of this story listed the Mayor of Mesa and Mesa City Council salaries higher than posted above.  Thanks to a reader, the figures have been corrected.  The citation for the corrected amount is here:


  1. Mesa says:

    Mesa Mayor makes $32k and council member makes around $20k.

    1. Yeah, not many of us make more than the president of the United States.

  2. Ralph says:

    Betsy extended her stay to give more time for the health system to find a new CEO, which they were going to give a $500,000 salary too anyway …

  3. Ralph says:

    Betsy Bayless was supposed to be retired by now, she did stay on to give MIHS more time to find her successor. I guess that’s why she got the raise?

    1. Kristy Washington says:

      Don’t CEOs usually make this type of money? Actually, don’t they usually make millions?

      1. Dilbert says:

        Yes, they usually do.  Even Costco’s “good guy CEO” makes a little bit more than Ms. Bayless.  But the biggest difference is that Costco (and other corporations) do not raise my property taxes every year to fund their operating budgets. Corporations do not have an IV directly inserted into the veins of Arizona taxpayers (yes, I understand there are property tax breaks given, tax credits, etc.).  Betsey Bayless works for a government entity that to my knowledge does not generate revenue, unlike corporations which are subject to executive boards and shareholders.  This is no different – in my mind – than GM receiving bailout money and then giving their senior management multi-million dollar bonuses.

        1. Well said, Dilbert, and rightly so. There is a huge difference between a private corporation and government using taxpayer money. All the difference in the world.

Betsey Bayless' $500,000 Taxpayer Funded Salary