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February 16, 2009
Amidst budget crisis, NY Governor Paterson gives raises to some state workers
This is pretty unbelievable and plays into an idea I've been thinking about that most politicians are not taking this crisis seriously and even more are using it for self aggrandizement and cronyism:
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.
The raises, which have stunned the few state workers who know about them, are outlined in data obtained from the office of state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, prepared at The Post's request.
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."
It's not the amount of money that is at issue, obviously. New York's budget shortfall is more than $15 billion and these raises amounted to only a couple of million dollars. But that's the whole point, isn't it? Not caring about the taxpayer's money is a disease that affects most politicians from both parties. The mindset appears to have taken over that this is their money, not the people's, and that because it's theirs they can do whatever they want with it.
Sign of the times...
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky