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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg Secretly Raises Pay For City's Managers

Mayor Michael Bloomberg authorized authorized big raises Friday for 6,692 of his managers and nonunion employees.

Shhh! Mayor Bloomberg quietly authorizes $69 million in bonuses for managers over two years
BY Frank Lombardi, DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU, Saturday, July 11th 2009, 4:00 AM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg authorized authorized big raises Friday for 6,692 of his managers and nonunion employees.

After crying poverty for months, Mayor Bloomberg authorized fat raises Friday for 6,692 of his managers and nonunion employees, worth $69 million over two years.

The raises, which will cover virtually all his City Hall staffers, but not himself, will match those given to District Council 37, the city's largest municipal union.

There will be a 4% raise retroactive to March 3 of last year, and a compounded 4% raise - or 4.16% - retroactive to March 3 of this year.

Those getting the raises will get lump-sum retroactive checks covering 16 months.

The seven deputy mayors will get raises ranging from $16,978 to $18,541, with the salary of First Deputy Commissioner Patricia Harris rising to $245,760.

Top commissioners will get a $23,247 raise, bringing their salaries to $189,700.

The raises only affect workers in mayoral agencies, not the Department of Education.

They also do not apply to the mayor and other elected officials, whose salaries are set by city law.

The mayor's official salary is $225,000, but the billionaire accepts only $1.

The raise was announced in a written statement by Bloomberg Press Secretary Stu Loeser, on a Friday afternoon, a time frequently reserved for news meant to slip under the radar.

Bloomberg has been warning of layoffs and other drastic action for months, citing plunging tax revenues and a shriveled up economy.

The budget is balanced through next June, with more than $2 billion in a health fund that could be tapped in a crisis. Multibillion-dollar gaps loom for the following years.

Loeser's statement stressed that the salaries of some unionized civil servants are higher than those of their supervisors, discouraging desire for career advancement.

A unionized police deputy chief - one-star - makes $180,749, while a managerial assistant chief - two-star - makes $166,106, Loeser said.

In the Fire Department, such salary differentials have left 20% of managerial staff chief positions unfilled.

smeyer418 Jul 11, 2009 1:13:45 PM Report Offensive Post
Friday in the summer is throw out the trash press releases day. It always has been.

ranus69 Jul 11, 2009 1:42:37 PM Report Offensive Post
I'm so glad I didn't vote for Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg. No wonder why the city is getting "dirtier" and "graffiti" is on the rise. Wonder whats going to happen when the NYPD and FDNY or Teacher union contracts come up? There's no money for them. Bloomberg is so outta touch.

steveiny Jul 11, 2009 1:44:01 PM Report Offensive Post
Mad Money Madoffberg has all this gelt to throw away while closing homeless shelters and pricing the poor out of their neighborhoods.If it was up to me Billionaireberg would be sharing a cell with Bernie for ordering the gassing of 2000 of our local park geese for no reason.

bradybunch Jul 11, 2009 1:55:40 PM Report Offensive Post
Bloomberg is a criminal and hypocrite. He changes the term limits law without allowing the citizens ( like me) of NYC. Democracy? What's that? When Giuliani wanted to run for a third time Mike was all against it. I'm sick of getting his re-election propaganda in the mail. Another rich **** who can afford to spend more money than everyone else almost guaranteeing re-election. There should be a cap on spending just a salary cap in professionla sports. This guy has to go raises ? Are you kidding me? Freeze all pay! If the employees don't like it they can quit - there are 1000's in line waiting to take advantage of any openings.

Pyrrhus Jul 11, 2009 2:43:14 PM Report Offensive Post
When you do the math & realize that the $69M is over two years, it averages to less than $100 per week before taxes for each employee.

mark233 Jul 11, 2009 5:21:54 PM Report Offensive Post
according to the headline these are bonuses, according to the story these are raises. which is it?

rikky Jul 11, 2009 6:31:45 PM Report Offensive Post
my salary is down 8% this year and everyone else i talk to in the private sector is making less than last year yet this POS is giving raises to the 'public servants' that the taxpayers have to pay for? the public sector's lavish benefits and comp packages which include near guaranteed employment, generous time off, unlimited sick time, work as you please culture, 4% raises a year, eligibility to retire before you turn 50, get paid for life with 60-80% of your salary and massively subsidized health care benefits has got to stop!

VotersOfNY Jul 11, 2009 9:44:26 PM Report Offensive Post
So what *******, its still 69 million. We have to sacrifice but they don't? How stupid are you? Its morons like you that keep letting these crooks be reelected again. $189,000 is enough salary? Herr Bloomberg says we have to pay more in sales tax so his people can make more money. This bum must go people.

cxb Jul 11, 2009 10:14:23 PM Report Offensive Post
You miss the point on every level. EX: if YOU owned a company do you think your EMPLOYEES should be allowed to choose their own salaries, perks, and pay hikes in defiance of you? B/c that's what Bloombag thinks. YOU AND I own City Hall and the politicians are OUR EMPLOYEES. "Public servants" YOU AND I have the say on what they get paid and if they get raises. It's OUR money. But these crooks just steal our money b/c they can. $200,000 for a police commissioner (who is a criminal, but let's not digress) is TOO MUCH, when Bloombag was paying a starting cop (who risks his life unlike the commish) for $25K is an outrage. BUT SERIOUSLY, this crooked mayor slashed our services saying we must "all" sacrifice. So WHY didn't any of the rich people or politicians sacrifice anything? ONLY YOU AND I SACRIFICED.

robertj53 Jul 12, 2009 11:37:45 AM Report Offensive Post
Well, well, well.....was it not only last month when the mayor was threatening to close 16 fire companies in sixteen different ny city neighborhoods to save a whopping $16 million a year? Oh and aren't cops and firefighters pensions the reason for the decline of the global economy? Where is the citizens budget committee now that the mayors staff got raises averaging $16000.00, at a cost to taxpayers of $69 million annually? HYPOCRISY KNOWS NO BOUNDS

Here are some examples of what the compounded 4% raises are worth to city managers:

First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris (pictured at right): current salary $227,219; raise $18,541; new salary $245,760.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly: current salary $189,700; raise $23,247; new salary $212,947.
Press secretary Stu Loeser: current salary $185,000; raise $15,096; new salary $200,096.

Commissioner of Immigration Affairs Guillermo Linares (pictured at left): current salary $177,698; raise $14,500; new salary $192,198.
Water Board Executive Director Steven Lawitts: current salary $186,340; raise $15,205; new salary $201,545. (see article below - Editor)

Taxi Commissioner Matthew Daus (at left): current salary $177,698; raise $14,500; new salary $192,198.

Massive Waste at a Time of Need

Since July 2005, funding for the city's contract budget has increased rapidly, climbing to a record cost of $9.2 billion for more than 18,000 contracts. This is equivalent to 15% of the city's tax-levy budget and more than 46% of the city's controllable spending.

DC 37's analysis in this 2009 white paper focuses on only ten contracts spread over eight city agencies listed below along with the potential savings that could be realized if the work were performed, as we propose, by city workers.

Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene - $8.8 million
Human Resources Administration and Dept. of Education temporary clericals - $2.4 million
Human Resources Administration custodial services - $14.5 million
Dept. of Transportation - $2.9 million
Dept. of Information Technology & Telecommunications - $21.6 million
DoITT 311 Call Center System - $4.3 to $5 million
Dept. of Homeless Services - $51 million
Dept. of Parks and Recreation - $12.6 million
Dept. of Education school food services - $3.9 million
NYC Fire Dept. - $5.4 million

Massive Waste At A Time Of Need: An Examination of New York City's Contracting Out of Public Services With Recommendations For Savings

Budget Includes Mgr. Raises, But Mayor Hasn't Signed Off Yet
By DAVID SIMS, The Chief, July 9, 2009

STEPHEN M. FERRER: Delays have caused agita.

Mayor Bloomberg is considering awarding raises to the city's managers after reports of unionized subordinates out-earning their bosses in city agencies because of pay hikes from negotiated contracts.

Mayoral officials indicated in January that managers' pay was being frozen because of the city's fiscal woes. The Mayor's Office would not confirm reports that this decision will be reversed, but spokesman Jason Post pointed out in an e-mail that "the total cost of implementing the raises is $52 million, which is budgeted in the city's financial plan."

Uniformed Job Leapfrogging

Wage disparities between unionized employees and their superiors have grown because of collective bargaining deals. In the Police Department, a Deputy Chief makes $180,749 a year under the contract of the union representing that title, the Captains Endowment Association, but a higherranked, nonunionized Assistant Chief makes only $166,106 a year and a Bureau Chief makes $170,310 a year.

In the Fire Department, a Deputy Chief can earn up to $183,510 per year but would have to take a pay cut to $174,560 per year if promoted to the lowest staff chief position, Deputy Assistant Chief.

Managerial Employees Association President Stephen M. Ferrer said in a phone interview that while he couldn't confirm the raises were happening, "it's a pretty strong rumor. . . I have been in contact on a regular basis with Deputy Mayor [for Operations Edward] Skyler. He had indicated to me that the money was in the budget, and it was just a case of the Mayor authorizing it."

Mr. Ferrer, whose organization advocates for managerial employees but does not have bargaining rights, had protested the pay freeze and has lobbied the Mayor's office for the raises for the past year.

"My assumption was, they're waiting for the right time to do it," he said. "That's what I know about it. I was going to call the Deputy Mayor this week, but to be honest with you I'm a little nervous to call him right now in terms of what's happening with Albany. I'd like that settled before I call them."

Sales-Tax Hike in Limbo

Mr. Bloomberg has said that the city is facing $60 million in lost revenue because of Albany's failure to enact the sales tax increase before July 1. The State Senate deadlock has prevented any bills from being sent to Governor Paterson's desk, and a disputed legislative session of Senate Democrats June 30 rejected the bill outright.

Mr. Ferrer said it was "obvious" that city managers, who number almost 9,200 in the city's workforce, deserved a raise. "Not only could anyone use a raise, but the union folks got them, and [our] people supervise [them], and the salary compression is getting smaller and smaller," he said. "Tack on overtime, and the people that they're supervising are making more money than them."

He said that members also found their lower rates of pay demoralizing, and diminished the authority of their offices. "They feel it in the pocketbook, but they feel it in terms of their recognition. I get calls all the time about it," he said.

"We're sure the Mayor will do the right thing with the raises," he continued. "We're confident, but it's in the Mayor's hands now."

Elite get fat pay hikes amid Senate stalemate
Democrats reward key staff with up to $32,000 while hitting GOP

By IRENE JAY LIU, Times Union Capitol bureau, Sunday, July 12, 2009

ALBANY -- Eleven of the state Senate's highest-paid staffers received raises of up to $32,000 when it appeared likely Democrats would lose control of the chamber during the five-week leadership fight.

The combined increases will cost taxpayers $200,000 annually.

Since the June 8 Senate coup, dozens of staff members from both sides of the aisle have received raises, but the elite group received raises ranging from $10,000 to $32,000 annually, state Comptroller's office records show.

The beneficiaries include top aides to Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn.

Because many of the raises were backdated, staffers are paid the additional cash in a lump sum, said Jennifer Freeman, spokeswoman to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. As a result, staffers expected fat paychecks of thousands of dollars in backdated raises at the exact time that Sampson was accusing Senate Republicans of stalling legislation in an attempt to seize the spoils of majority leadership.

Early last week -- before the return of breakaway Democrat Pedro Espada Jr. ended the struggle for control of the chamber -- Sampson held a news conference where he charged Espada and Senate Republicans "care about what I call T-triple-P -- that is titles, power, pork and patronage -- more than the New York's economy."

Nevertheless, the past month has been kind to the bank accounts of some Democratic staffers.

One day after the coup, Senate Majority Deputy Secretaries Meredith Henderson and Patricia Rubens each received nearly $23,000 in raises. Both staffers received an additional raise on June 23, for a total of nearly $32,000 each, backdated to Jan. 1, 2009. Both staffers are paid $140,382.

Mortimer Lawrence, a top Smith aide and already one of the highest-paid staffers on the Senate payroll, was given a $16,000 raise on June 24 that was backdated to Jan.2. His annual salary is now $177,231.

On June 26, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Indira Noel received a nearly $11,000 raise that bumped her salary to $118,000. Counsel for Latino and Immigrant Affairs Lourdes Ventura received a nearly $12,000 raise, increasing her annual pay to $131,000. And Curtis Taylor, who holds the title of special adviser to the majority leader, received a $13,500, taking his annual salary to $135,000.

Lawrence was Smith's chief of staff when the Democrats were in the minority; after the November elections, he became "special counsel to the majority leader." Taylor, who was the director of minority communications, became "special adviser to the majority leader." Lawrence and Taylor are members of the Queens-based Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of Greater New York, the church led by the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former congressman and Smith's political mentor.

Lawrence, Noel, Ventura and Taylor were key figures in Smith's staff before Senate Democrats won the majority, but were largely pushed aside of the daily operations of the conference when Smith ascended to become majority leader.

They were moved from the central suite on the third floor of the Capitol to other floors; some were assigned to offices in Harlem; the conference's operations, strategic planning and communications were largely taken over by Senate Secretary Angelo Aponte, Chief Counsel Shelley Mayer, and Press Secretary Austin Shafran.

Two aides to Sampson received pay raises: On June 23, special assistant Celeste Knight received a $22,000 increase, raising her annual salary to over $70,000. Administrative assistant Shirley Piper received a $10,000 pay raise to $45,000 on July 3. Both raises were backdated to mid-June, when Sampson was installed as the de-facto leader of the Democratic conference.

Meanwhile, the Senate stalemate made Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone scramble to make payroll for city workers, and drove New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reveal a hiring freeze hitting an entire class of police academy cadets.

Senate Democrats said the pay hikes were authorized long before the June, and the timing of the raises had nothing to do with the party's tenuous hold on leadership.

"Salary increases for central staff are authorized by the office of the president of the Senate, which was at the time and still is Sen. Malcolm Smith," said Shafran. "The decision was made well prior to the leadership dispute, but because of the budget crisis and the general fiscal uncertainty of the state, the decision was made to delay the allocation of some of the salary increases. One thing had nothing to do with the other," he said.

Staffers in the offices of Republican Sens. Frank Padavan of Queens and Thomas Morahan of Rockland County received salary increases during the coup, but in both cases, the higher rates were a partial reinstatement of significant pay cuts employees took when Republicans transitioned into the minority at the beginning of the year.

"We agreed in advance, 'Let's take the cut to ensure that we can all continue to work for someone we respect,'" said Morahan spokesman Ronald Levine, who received a $6,000 raise to about $46,000. Levine said the money left over in the staffing budget allowed for partial reinstatement of salary.

The issue of resource allocation was a major reason why Senate Republicans allied themselves with two dissident Democratic senators to oust Smith from leadership. Under Smith, Republican senators each received $350,000 for staffing -- significantly less than they had received in the majority, but nearly 30 percent more than the $273,000 average that individual Democratic legislators received to staff their offices when they were in the minority.

But at the same time, Democrats slashed the Republicans' central staff. In 2008, the Senate Democratic minority had a central staff budget of $6.8 million and employed roughly 110 staff members. Beginning in April, the Republican central staff was allocated around $3.1 million.

Irene Jay Liu can be reached at 454-5081 or

Big hikes amid Senate stalemate
Democrats provide salary increases to key workers while their control of the majority was in doubt


Name, title, office Annual salary before raise % change Salary change

Celeste Knight$70,191.21 $47,820.47 46.78% $22,370.74
Special assistant to John Sampson

Shirley Piper $45,122.90 $35,095.74 28.57% $10,027.17
Administrative assistant to John Sampson

Vincent Thomas$65,177.50 $53,190.05 22.54% $11,987.45
Senior analyst, majority counsel

Christopher Labarge$85,232.36 $75,188.76 13.36% $10,043.59
Senior policy adviser, majority counsel/program

Indira Noel$118,153.77 $107,412.52 10.00% $10,741.25
Director of intergovernmental relations, majority counsel/program

Despina Moraitou$75,787.88 $50,136.62 51.16% $25,651.26
Legislative analyst, majority counsel/program/committee staff

Lourdes Ventura$131,150.69 $119,227.90 10.00% $11,922.79
Counsel for Latino and Immigrant Affairs, majority operations

Meredith Henderson$140,382.43 $107,412.52 30.69% $32,969.91
Deputy Secretary, Majority senior staff

Mortimer Lawrence$177,230.66 $161,118.78 10.00% $16,111.88
Special counsel to the majority leader, majority senior staff

Patricia Rubens$140,382.43 $107,412.52 30.69% $32,969.91
Deputy secretary, majority senior staff

Curtis Taylor$134,695.30 $121,224.94 11.11% $13,470.36
Special adviser to the majority leader, majority senior staff

Total $198,266.31

Source: State Comptroller's Office

Union asks Morgan Stanley to reverse exec pay hikes: report
NewsDaily, 2009/06/24 at 1:01 am EDT

June 24, 2009 (Reuters) — A major union this week called on Morgan Stanley to reverse recent salary hikes for senior executives and other top earners, the Wall Street Journal said citing a letter from the union.

A street sign stands near the Morgan Stanley worldwide headquarters building in New York May 8, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson.

The raises "weakened the link between top executive pay and performance," wrote Gerald McEntee,(pictured above) international president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in a letter to Morgan Stanley, provided to the paper.

"We urge you to return base salaries to their previous levels and reward executives for long-term value creation, not just showing up for work."

AFSCME members' pension funds have more than $1 trillion in assets and hold roughly 3 percent of Morgan Stanley's outstanding shares, according to the paper.

Last month, Morgan Stanley raised the base salaries of certain senior officers to $800,000, but said it does not plan to raise total compensation.

Morgan Stanley, which became a bank-holding company last year, raised the base salaries for five of its senior officers, including its chief financial officer but said Chief Executive John Mack's base salary will not change.

Morgan Stanley and representatives at the union could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.


City's Weird Water Logic

Waste water.

That’s the message the city has for every homeowner and landlord in the city.

We’re not joking. Despite the mayor’s impressive environmental master plan, the city Water Board’s executive director told the few people assembled at a recent hearing that one of the main reasons for the hefty hike this year, was that people were cutting down on their water use.

“Our financial needs are spread across fewer gallons consumed,” was how Water Board Executive Director Steven Lawitts put it. So, to penalize rate payers for being conservation-minded, rates for homeowners and landlords will rise by 11.5 percent in July, and the Board projects similar increases for next year and the year after.

These numbers are dry and uninteresting, unless you happen to be a homeowner who pays them, in which case it’s hardly an academic issue. What if you’re just scraping by or behind on your mortgage? Or maybe you’re a senior citizen or disabled veteran on a limited income and there just isn’t any more disposable dough to fork over to the city. Council Member James Vacca called it a “regressive” tax because “not everyone has the equal ability to pay. The Water Board does not recognize that. “

The city does its best to keep the water issue as dry as possible and as far from the ratepayer as it can possibly manage.

Vacca, the only elected official to attend the hearing this year, waved around a notice every property owner in the city received on April 20 about work on the Croton water system. Why didn’t the city advertise the hearings in that mailing? He called it a “lost opportunity that the DEP did not want to avail themselves of.”

At the start of the session, the Water Board’s hearing officer listed each periodical it placed a notice in about the hearings. That included the dailies and the Jewish Press, but not a single community newspaper. Not that the text-heavy ads would have drawn much notice regardless of where it was placed. What about an old-fashioned press release? But that would’ve made it more likely that newspapers would actually publish articles on the issue in advance of the hearing.

The Bronx hearing was also held at 9:30 a.m. in a basement lecture hall deep into the Lehman College campus, not exactly a location that’s easy to get to, particularly if you’re elderly or handicapped.

These efforts to depress turnout worked. There were only eight or nine speakers and four of those were from University Neighborhood Housing Program, the local non-profit that serves as probably the only consistent monitor of this issue in our borough.

UNHP recently published a report documenting the shrinking number of affordable apartments. Water rates affect affordability and landlords’ ability to keep their buildings in healthy physical and fiscal condition.

Most renters aren’t aware of the water rate debate, because they don’t get a water bill. But their landlords do, and you can be assured that that rate is factored in when property owners demand rent increases before the Rent Guidelines Board.

UNHP is calling for a water summit with city agencies and officials to seriously address this issue. They say it would fit in nicely with the mayor’s massive urban planning project known as “PLANYC 2030.” We agree.