Plums for Bums: Senate Staffers Get Raises

Big raises have been in the works since this summer's coup ended

Monday, Aug 24, 2009  |  Updated 8:15 PM EDT
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Plums for Bums: Senate Staffers Get Raises

NBCNewYork

Senators talked over each other during this summer's coup -- keeping backs turned before calling a recess after a five minute session.

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But of course.

The New York Senate has given about 50 members of its staff raises, in some cases more than $10,000 a year, and has hired, transferred or promoted about 30 other workers, new data shows.
 
It wasn't immediately clear how many of the staffers listed worked for Republicans or Democrats.

The state Comptroller's Office released the new pay data Monday.
    
A director of operations programs for the Senate got a raise of more than $10,000 to make nearly $94,000 a year. Others, including an executive assistant and a communications director, each got a
raise of $10,000 or higher.
    
By the end of the budget year, the Senate's staff spending will be on par with the spending in previous years when the chamber was under Republican leadership, a spokesman for Senate Democrats said.

News of the raises is sure to further irk New Yorkers, as the state battles recession, high unemployment and lingering anger over this summer's coup in Albany that saw two rogue Democrats effectively paralyze the chamber for five weeks.

The coup cost the state of New York millions of dollars and held up key legislation and policy matters.

The fat raises and plum jobs doled out by Senators in a "post-coup spending spree" will cost taxpayers more than a million dollars a year, the New York Post reported last week.

Democratic leaders claimed the spoils from this summer's historic power struggle, including $500,000 for a raft of raises and staff increases for Senate turncoat-in-chief Pedro Espada Jr.'s office, the newspaper said.

The appointments -- first reported in the Albany Times Union -- are only the latest windfall for Espada, who also attempted to get his son a six-figure job in the Senate.  He folded on that idea when there were calls for a probe alleging nepotism.

Senate Democrats have made him majority leader and given him more office space since the coup.
 

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