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New York State Pays 996 Employees More Than Cuomo’s $179,000

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March 17 (Bloomberg) -- New York state paid 996 employees more last year than Governor Andrew Cuomo’s base salary of $179,000, according to a compilation of payroll data by the Empire Center for New York State Policy in Albany.

Most of those who earned more than the governor work in the 83 campuses and three hospitals of the state and city university systems, which aren’t under the governor’s direct control. The employment information collected by Empire, a group that advocates less government spending, doesn’t include the cost of pensions or other benefits.

Cuomo, a Democrat who announced a voluntary 5 percent pay cut for himself and top staff soon after he took office this year, is seeking $450 million of labor savings from about 130,000 workers he does oversee to help close a $10 billion budget gap. Union contracts expire March 31, and Cuomo’s budget calls for 9,800 dismissals if there is no cost-cutting deal.

With pay averaging $100,552, the New York State Police had the highest average earnings among executive-branch agencies, the report said.

The highest paid worker outside of the state or city university systems, at number 127, was Raudline Etienne, chief investment officer of New York’s $140.6 billion pension fund. Etienne, who was paid $285,063, was previously a managing director at RogersCasey, a Darien, Connecticut-based adviser to pension and retirement plans.

Million-Dollar Coach

The highest pay, $1.03 million, went to Kevin Broadus, former men’s basketball coach at the State University of New York at Binghamton, after he and the school agreed to end his contract. An investigation led by former New York Chief Judge Judith Kaye found the school’s athletic and other departments were giving preferential treatment to athletes.

The number of state workers paid more than $175,000 rose by 96, or about 10 percent, from 2009, even though Governor David Paterson had a declared a hiring freeze and announced layoffs of 900 workers before his term ended Dec. 31.

Cuomo’s $132.5 billion budget calls for $206.4 million of cuts in state aid to higher education and $134.8 million to the state university hospitals. He wants lawmakers to approve a $175,000 ceiling on pay for superintendents at the state’s 700 school districts. The salaries are now set by locally elected school boards.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Quint in Albany, New York, at mquint@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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