Monday, February 16, 2009

Despite Pay Freeze, Paterson Aides Get Secret Raise

It sure seems as if New York David Paterson is trying to get booted from office in 2010. The accidental governor has had countless missteps since he inherited the office from the disgraced Eliot Spitzer, the latest among them his issuing some very generous pay hikes in secret to a host of aides.
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.
I guess a pay freeze is only for the lowly state employees who don't report directly to Paterson. Makes you wonder if he even plans on running again next year by being so reckless. Perhaps he just intends to live large and reward his own people before moving on, probably to a position in the Obama administration.
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.

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