Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Democratic State Senate Staff Gets Hefty Pay Raise

While the terms of bailing out the M.T.A. are a major struggle for the State Senate, there is one thing the new majority can agree on, pay raises. The leadership had approved hundreds of thousands in raises at a time in our state's economy that sounds rather selfish and hypocritical with the amount of cuts that will be made in this year's budget.

From NY1:

To the victors go the spoils. Fresh from ousting Republicans from more than 40 years of state senate control, Democrats have dished out hundreds of thousands of dollars in raises to select staffers, even amid a fiscal crisis expected to require tax hikes and deep spending cuts.

A NY1 investigation found about three dozen aides saw their salaries grow in the past three months.

Among the aides is the deputy chief of staff for Nassau Senator Craig Johnson, whose salary climbed 63 percent, from $47,500 in 2008 to $77,500 this year.

The chief of staff for Bronx Senator Jeff Klein saw his wages grow by 36 percent, from $55,000 in 2008 to $75,000 this year. Four other people in Klein's office saw salary increases, but their positions stayed the same.

I guess it was to be expected, the Dems got in power and now it's time to get paid. Their excuse though is a 'noble' one, in that with more responsibility comes higher benefits:

With their new majority, Democratic lawmakers say they and their staffs have gained new responsibilities. Johnson became a committee chairman and Klein has become the Senate's deputy majority leader.

"Remember, staff don't get paid for a Saturday and Sunday and overtime," said Senator Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. "So even a salary bump, if you had to pay them by the hour, they're being paid a whole lot less than what they're worth in terms of the time that they're putting in."

Aww, that is too bad. I'm sure that the tens of thousands of recently unemployed New Yorkers sympathize with those poor staffers. Now it must be mentioned that Republicans had also been paying their staffers the same hefty salaries but I thought we were supposed to be reforming the Legislature and setting an example. Following the lead of Bruno and Skelos was not supposed to be a part of the plan. As for the reduction in the Senate's overall budget by 10%, that remains to be accomplished as of yet.