April 09, 2009
Saying goodbye pays $83,000
No large county spends more per capita than Westchester, according to the new Benchmarking New York section of the SeeThroughNY web site. One factor may be a generous severance policy that gave a former employee $83,000 in unused vacation and sick time when he resigned to become a top aide to Governor David Paterson.
Former Deputy County Executive Larry Schwartz cashed in $48,236 in unused vacation time, $34,340 in sick time and $204 for longevity pay when he left his $157,370-a-year county job in February, according to the Journal News. He is now paid $178,000 as secretary to the governor.
The payments are consistent with the county's policy for managers and union workers, county officials said, though some critics argue that it shows that government is out of touch with taxpayers and not in sync with private sector businesses, which often have use-it-or-lose-it policies for such perks.
"This is the perfect example of the government gone wild," said Rob Astorino, Republican candidate for county executive.
Susan Tolchin, who succeeded Schwartz as deputy county executive, described Schwartz as a workaholic. "He deserves what he got. Larry worked 24/7."
Westchester County has 67 employees with more than 10 days of accrued vacation time, down from 536 employees in 2004, she told the News.
The story of Schwartz's $83,000 payout comes one day after the launch of Benchmarking New York, a searchable on line database that allows New Yorkers to compare per capita spending and tax rates for the state's 1,604 localities. It is a joint project of the Empire Center for New York State Policy and the Business Council.
The site shows Westchester County spent $2,479 per capita in 2007, ranking it number one among large counties. Erie is the lowest spender at $1,604. The average large county spends $2,094 per capita.
Of all 57 counties outside New York City, rural Lewis County spends the most per capita, $3,698. The lowest spending county per capita is Saratoga at $1,162.
For a press release and link to report on Benchmarking New York, see here . News stories, see here and here.
Note: NY Public Payroll Watch will resume April 20.
« Previous |
| Next »