No Furlough For You: Judge Denies Days Off

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP/Getty Images
    Paterson is taking heat from all sides.

    A Federal Judge has blocked the furloughs, for now. 

    Judge Lawrence Kahn issued a temporary restraining order late Wednesday afternoon in Albany.

    While the judge did not made any judgments about whether or not the furloughs are legal, he did say that the plaintiffs demonstrated that the move could cause "irreparable harm."
     
    Kahn scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday, May 26, after which he will decide if the furloughs are "reasonable and necessary."

    "We are disappointed with the courts decision, which was granted without the benefit of a hearing. We look forward to our day in court. It is imperative for the State to conserve revenues and maintain the orderly operation of government, and the Governor remains committed to this objective. Governor Paterson again calls for the leaders of New York's public employee unions to share in the sacrifice that all New Yorkers are enduring in this extraordinary fiscal crisis," Governor Paterson's office told nbcnewyork.com.
     
    The restraining order came after several state agencies, including the department of Motor Vehicles, had announced closures on various days this month to avoid chaos.
     
    Meanwhile, a few of David Paterson's recently promoted staffers learned the hard way they won't be getting the raises they were promised.

    From a public relations perspective, the timing could not have been worse.  Headlines called out a "Tone Deaf Dave" for giving raises to some of his press staffers while trying to furlough thousands of state employees.
     
    Governor Paterson's spokesman Morgan Hook initially offered an explanation for the raises, saying they went along with "promotions" for people who had taken on "added responsibilities."

    But once the bad press was in print the Governor did a 180 degree turn and canceled the raises.
     
    Union leaders accused Paterson of hypocrisy and making policy after "being caught."
     
    "It's just another example of his total lack of credibility and inconsistency," said Stephen Madarasz of the Civil Service Employees Union. "They just careen from crisis to crisis."
     
    Hook insists they still believe giving those raises was the right thing to do. Sources n the Administration bristled that union leaders were being disingenuous, since more than a thousand union members accepted raises in the last year when they were promoted to new positions.
     
    The real issue behind all this fighting is that David Paterson wants the unions to forgo the four percent pay raise they're owed.

    "Clearly the unions are not being cooperative because the appropriate step here and the right fiscal step is that they don't get a raise, " said Greg David of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.  He noted that, in the private sector, many workers have gone years without cost of living increases.
     
    Assembly staffers confirmed about a dozen members staged a "sit-in" on the second floor of the Capitol.  Assembly members are said to be angry about the lack of progress on the budget and Governor Paterson's failure to bring everyone together.   They demanded to see David Paterson.
     
    Paterson eventually emerged from his office to say he has returned every phone call he has received from lawmakers on the 42 day late budget.