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NY Governor Gave Staff Secret Raises

Some excellent investigative reporting from the inimitable New York Post:

(Click to enlarge)



ALBANY – Gov. Paterson has secretly granted raises of as much as 46 percent to more than a dozen staffers at a time when he has asked 130,000 state workers to give up 3 percent pay hikes because of the state’s fiscal crisis, The Post has learned.

The startling pay hikes, costing about $250,000 annually, were granted after the governor’s "emergency" declaration in August of a looming fiscal crisis that required the state to cut spending and impose a "hard" hiring freeze.

One raise was approved as recently as last month – when Paterson claimed the budget deficit had reached an unprecedented $15.5 billion…

Two of the raises were tied to publicly proclaimed promotions – granted despite the supposed hiring freeze – of some of Paterson’s most important appointees, although the announcements didn’t include disclosure of the pay hikes.

The remaining 14 raises appear to have gone to individuals who remained in their same positions, despite claims by a spokesman for Paterson that they had been promoted.

"These are not raises for old positions, rather new salaries for new positions," Paterson spokesman Errol Cockfield insisted.

But a DiNapoli spokesman, Dennis Thompkins, said flatly, "These are individuals who stayed in their same position and received a salary increase."

Paterson’s top aide, William Cunningham, a one-time law partner of the governor’s father, Basil, saw his pay jump 5 percent to $178,500 – just $500 less than Paterson himself – from $170,000 on Nov. 7, after he was promoted from a temporary "acting" secretary to permanent.

Charlotte Hitchcock, one of Cunningham’s deputies and a personal friend of the governor’s, received an $18,000, or 11.25 percent, raise on Dec. 22. While a press release said she was promoted from deputy secretary to "chief of staff" and "director of financial regulation," it made no mention of a higher salary.

Cassie Prugh, a confidential assistant, was given a 46 percent pay hike in late November, raising her annual salary to $125,000 from $85,721, while Gaurav Vasisht, an assistant counsel, received a 6 percent, $7,427 increase in December, bringing his salary to $130,279…

Disclosure of the secret pay hikes comes as Paterson is under attack for spending well over $20,000 in state funds on a four-day stay for himself and several aides during President Obama’s inaugural last month, and for planning a state-funded junket to Davos, Switzerland, which he canceled only after his plans became public.

Paterson, in his budget proposal outlined in December, demanded that state workers who belong to the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employee Federation forgo negotiated, 3 percent pay hikes that would kick in April 1 or face massive layoffs.

Perhaps this is slightly less devious than having taxpayer-funded affairs with state employees, as Mr. Paterson was wont to do. But only slightly.

And the results to the New York taxpayers are roughly the same.

But note the technique Mr. Paterson employed. He simply called these raises “new positions” or “promotions.”

This has always been the way people have gotten around wage and price controls – even of their own making.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “NY Governor Gave Staff Secret Raises”

  1. Consilience says:

    More mischief and duplicity (NY is in a fiscal pickle—like Kansas, CA, and Michigan) from democratic “leaders”. The governor is no better than the man he succeeded; immoral narcissists, hollow moral relativists concerned only with power and the trappings thereof. The truth is, NO ONE takes these Pollyanna’s seriously—they don’t even take themselves seriously (witness the catastrophe that didn’t happen on the delay of TARP I)—and the media’s duplicity should be remembered.

    Are we fit to govern ourselves? Why do we continue to vote/allow these people to “lead”? The questions are rhetorical, but illustrative of what we’ve become as a Republic.

    • 1sttofight says:

      Nowadays no one with any intelligence and integrity wants to hold public office. It aint worth the effort.

    • Consilience says:

      I sat through a brief from a “professional staffer” working for a House committee. He bragged that the Members rarely read legislation; effectively we are “led” by staffers—who are not vetted by the public. Today image trumps substance—but the image of a blind adulterer leading a major state…pc gone mad.

      One reason Palin seems like a breath of fresh air is her “ordinariness”—she seems real…

  2. Howard Roark says:

    Democrats are eternal hypocrites.

    If it isn’t Dan Rostenkowski giving his friends cushy jobs at the US Postal administration which they got paid handsomely for yet never showed up to work at, it’s the blind beaurocrat who can’t see a problem with overpaying his posse.

    Something tells me that this governor is still overwhelmed by the office he never was prepared to have. He clutches to the wise elders in his midst who worked with his daddy, forever grateful that they run the governor’s office while someone shows him the way to the next female state employee and the nearest broom closet.

  3. proreason says:

    There should be an Alltime Hypocrits web-site.

    Employment would soar.

  4. clifcrds says:

    Yes . . . this is why the word Democrat has been dropped from my vocaculary. I have replaced it with Commiecrat. There is no distinction between them any more, might as well call them for what they really are. From House Resolution 45 (see http://www.stoptheaclu.com/archives/2009/01/15/hr-45-here-comes-gun-control/ ), to the Fairness Doctrine, to this revealing display of Commiecratic Nomenklaturaism (see http://www.thevanguard.org/thevanguard/other_writers/sowell_thomas/060906.shtml ) . . . they are now out in the open to who they really are.

  5. mybrotherkeeper says:

    With affirmative action we’ve been dumbing down the country for decades. What we have gotten is the triumph of mediocrity. Guys who are neither excellent in virtue nor brains; simply mediocre. Guys who do not even have the wisdom of common sense — yet they’re running things such as the 2nd biggest state in the union. Really, what do our kids, and their kids, have to look up to? A kid with wisdom and intelligence realizes they are brighter than the authorities above them. Those who look up to them become like them; that is, they can never even surpass them. What kind of leaders will we have in the future? Can you imagine leaders who are even worse than the current crop? I can’t; but realistically, that is what is going to happen. People who are so stupid they think they are smart!!! That is comical!

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