ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo is the state’s top officer but he’s far from being the government’s highest paid employee, according to a new report.

Data released Friday by the Empire Center for Public Policy showed that 1,797 state employees earned more in 2015 than the $179,000 salary Cuomo earned as governor.

The number of state employees earning more than Cuomo last year was up from the 1,512 who earned more in 2014, the Empire Center reported.

“The governor is the chief executive of the state, you could question why he doesn’t make the most,” said Empire Center Executive Director Tim Hoefer.

While significant, the 1,797 state employees who earned more than the governor account for only a small fraction of the more than 292,000 people who work for the three branches of state government.

Of the 50 highest paid employees, most worked for either the State University of New York or the City University of New York. Many were doctors or other health professionals.

Among the top 50 were SUNY Stony Brook basketball coach Stephen Pikiell at $449,994 and SUNY Buffalo football coach Jeffrey Quinn at $440,725.

The state’s highest paid worker in 2015 was Reuven Pasternak, chief executive officer and vice president for health systems at Stony Brook University Hospital. He earned $673,596.

Pasternak supplanted longtime state payroll king Alain Kaloyeros, the politically connected president of the SUNY Polytechnic Institute. He earned $549,847 from the state last year, down from $987,075 in 2014.

School spokesman Jerry Gretzinger said Kaloyeros took a reduced salary in January 2015 when he was formally appointed president of the newly-created SUNY Polytechnic. The institute was created in 2014 when the Kaloyeros-headed College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering merged with the SUNY Institute of Technology.

In addition to his state pay, Kaloyeros also receives payments from private sector companies that do research at the institute and from the SUNY Research Foundation. Those figures were not available.

SUNY Polytechnic has reportedly been the subject of a probe by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office into the awarding of economic development contacts in the Buffalo area.

© 2016 New York Daily News

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