The economy is still dwindling and state lawmakers are feeling the effects. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman tells us why the Governor is having issues getting recruits for his cabinet.
NEW YORK STATE -- Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to recruit the best and the brightest for his cabinet, but has run into difficulty finding people willing to make comparatively lower pay. A review of payroll data that culled together the 10 highest paid employees per cabinet level office found department commissioners make tens of thousands of dollars less than the base pay of deputy commissioners and assistants whose pay is approved by the governor's office. Commissioners' pay varies from agency to agency, ranges from $109,000 to $136,000 and is set by state law.
“I understand the financial circumstances are difficult. I negotiated the contracts with our workforce so I know how difficult they are. But it is an issue we'll have to deal with sooner or later because we do want talented people to come in to state service as commissioners and high ranking heads of very complex organizations and salary structure is going to have to recognize that at one point,” Cuomo said in January.
At the Division of Criminal Justice Services, Michael Green was appointed by Cuomo as the first deputy executive commissioner for the Division of Criminal Justice Services with an expected salary of $146,946, which is more than the $127,000 a Senate approved commissioner would earn.
Cuomo also has dipped into the Legislature to make many of his cabinet appointments, including Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine, Housing Chairman Darryl Towns and OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito. He recently nominated Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera to lead the Department of Labor.
Lawmakers haven't receive a raise from their $79,500 base pay and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos both deny there has been any discussion about a salary bump. Both say their members deserve pay raises even if the current political climate and fiscal austerity would make it difficult to do.
“Do I feel legislators are adequately paid? No. When you don't have a pay raise for 14 years, but the circumstances now are you just can't do it,” Skelos said.
Raises may be a tough sell. Cuomo recently negotiated less generous contracts for thousands of state employees that included multi-year pay freezes and some lawmakers are opposed to increasing the state's minimum wage.