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April 22, 2009

Assembly's 3 percent raises

While Governor David Paterson came under fire in February for giving raises to some of his staff, top Assembly staffers kept their heads down--apparently hoping the public wouldn't learn about their 3 percent raises.

Despite a record $17 billion budget gap, the Assembly fattened pay checks of 63 percent of its staff in 2009, according to an Empire Center analysis of December 31, 2008 and April 7, 2009 payroll records from the Office of State Comptroller. All but 57 raises were granted January 1.

Ironically, the $132 billion budget the Assembly ultimately passed creates a huge hole for Paterson to fill. He has threatened to lay off 8,700 state employees--all in the executive branch--if their unions don't agree to forgo a negotiated 3 percent raise and lag 5 days of pay. So far, the unions aren't budging.

Of the 1,540 Assembly employees on both the 2008 and 2009 payrolls, 971 (63 percent) got raises. The majority of them--734 (76 percent)--saw their salaries increase by 3 percent. Another 215 got raises exceeding 4 percent; 25 got raises below 3 percent. For 190 employees, 2009 brought pay cuts; for another 379, flat salaries.

Among those getting raises were the Assembly's top earners: Dean Fuleihan, secretary of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, whose salary on an annualized basis jumped to $157,580, (increase of $4,580); Judith Rapfogel, $157,580 (increase of $4,589); and William Sherman II, $148,940 (increase of $4338). All received 3 percent raises.

Pay raises disproportionately went to higher paid Assembly employees.

  • Of the top 100 paid employees: 92 (92 percent) got raises; 8 (8 percent) got no raises or took pay cuts.
  • Of the top 200 paid employees: 173 (86.5 percent) got raises; 27 (13.5 percent) got no raises or took pay cuts.
  • Of the bottom 100 paid employees: 12 (12 percent) received raises; 88 (88 percent) got no raises or took pay cuts.
  • Of the bottom 200 employees: 35 (17.5 percent) received raises; 165 (82.5 percent) got no raises or took pay cuts.

Posted by Lise Bang-Jensen

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