Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed shock Wednesday that 28 top state troopers received hefty raises last month while some 900 state workers were facing layoffs.
``I was surprised and shocked,'' said Cuomo, who just last week called for pay freezes for state workers. ``We're going to be reviewing it today.''
The police agency had requested the raises, which topped $20,000, after a union agreement had bumped some majors' pay to $170,756, topping salaries for the executive staff pay.
That's more than the $136,00 salary that the incoming head of the state police,superintendent Joseph D'Amico, will be earning.
The executive raises, first reported by WNYT television in Albany following a Freedom of Information Law request, boost staff inspectors to $173,756 yearly and the first deputy superintendent to $182,756 with assistant deputy and deputy superintendents in between.
In a letter to the state Budget Division, Assistant Deputy Police Superintendent Terence O'Mara said ``the salary inequality'' in the paramilitary organization needed to be fixed to support the chain of command. ``This chain only remains functional with the ability of the superintendent to appoint the most competent and experienced personnel to his executive staff.''
Promoting the best leaders to lower-paying jobs ``will be viewed as less than an acknowledgment of a job well done and more as a punishment for possessing desired leadership skills,'' O'Mara wrote.
Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and five top aides all immediately took 5 percent pay cuts from their predecessors' salaries. Cuomo's giveback amounted to $8,950 of the $179,000 governor's salary, which was set by law in 1999.
Saying New York families have learned to do more with less to live within their means, Cuomo said the government has to do the same. He has proposed a pay freeze for the state's nearly 200,000 employees to help counter an expected budget deficit of nearly $10 billion.
About 900 New York state workers received formal layoff notices last month effective Dec. 31. Then-Gov. David Paterson said he was forced to resort to that because union leaders refused to give any concessions that would save the state $250 million toward the deficit.