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article imageNY Governor Paterson Under Fire for Staff Pay Hikes

By Carolyn E. Price     Feb 16, 2009 in Politics
After mishandling the "Kennedy / Clinton" saga last month, New York's governor, David Paterson has secretly given out pay increases ranging from 5% to 46% to his own staffers after asking state workers to give up their 3% pay increase in April of 2009.
The New York Post is reporting that Gov. Paterson has secretly given staffers pay increases over the last few months, all this after imposing a hiring freeze, proposing billions in dollars of cuts to the state budget and after asking state workers to forgo their negotiated 3% increase slated to come into effect in April, 2009.
The list of increases include:
Paterson's secretary, William Cunningham, received a 5% increase in salary when he was "promoted" from acting secretary to secretary, bumping his salary from $170,000 to $178,500.
Cunningham's deputy, Charlotte Hitchcock, was promoted from deputy secretary to chief of staff and was given an 11.25% increase bumping her salary from $160,000 to $178,000.
Assistant counsel, Gaurav Vasisht, received a 6% pay hike, to $130,279. Cassie Prugh, a confidential assistant, received a whopping 46% pay hike, bumping her salary from $85,721 to $125,000.
Press aide Erin Duggen received a 5% pay hike to $105,786 while special office assistant, Brendan Fitzgerald, received a 21% raise, to $90,000. Another confidential assistant, Michael Deloach, got a pay hike of 29%, to $80,000 and yet another press aide, Morgan Hook received an almost 13% pay hike to $79,568.
A legal assistant, Ryan Dalton received a 17% increase to $52,000 while confidential secretary Lauren Passalacqua was rewarded with an almost 32% pay raise to $50,000. Another confidential aide, Chardee Mendoza, got 28%, to $45,000 while confidential stenographer Erin Donohue received 10% to $43,000.
The increases handed out by Paterson amount to $250,000 per year, a mere drop in the State of New York's $121 billion annual budget, but surely one must see the hypocrisy of Paterson's recent actions. After asking state employees to forgo a negotiated 3% pay increase he hands out raises to his inner staff ranging from 5 to 46%?
The public sector unions in New York have responded to Paterson's requests by flooding the airwaves with advertising and lobbying campaigns. The New York Times is reporting that the radio and television campaigns are costing the health care sector alone about $1 million a week.
The health care sector unions are running ads that show a man who is sitting in his motorized scooter who says that he would not be able to leave home without health care:
It’s a necessity to me; it’s like cutting off my right arm,. I can’t lose the people that are taking care of me. I can’t believe that Governor Paterson is the man making this type of proposal.
Another spot depicts nurses who say:
I can’t believe Governor Paterson is the one making this proposal. Laying off nurses is not the answer.
Paterson says that the advertisements are "misleading and factually inaccurate" and spokesperson Eric Cockfield (no pay raise?) is quoted as saying:
The governor has called on all New Yorkers to join him in fixing our budget problems, but instead of working to find solutions, some groups have chosen to lobby for their own narrow self-interests by using the same old playbook.
More about David paterson, New york governor, Pay raises
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