FBI looking into hiring practices of NY Governor’s Office

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The FBI is looking into hiring practices of the New York Governor’s Office.

The governor’s office says this is something normal that happens at all levels of government and dates back to 50 years. It’s unclear why the FBI is looking into hiring practices.

The governor has executive authority over agencies and is able to use resources in a way that best advances his agenda.

Neither Gov. Cuomo or the office is under investigation.

The New York Governor’s Office released this statement:

“In this environment, anyone can ask about anything, but the fact is the longstanding practice of detailing staff from Agencies to work in the Executive Chamber dates back over 50 years to at least the Rockefeller administration and extends to the White House and the federal Department of Justice. Given that the Federal Department of Justice and the White House have a long history of utilizing this practice, perhaps the FBI can investigate them when this is charade is over.”

The governor’s office provided these examples of employees placed on agency payrolls:

Paterson

  • 2/24/09: (New York Post) At a time when state workers are being asked to forgo any pay hikes, the chief of staff to Gov. Paterson’s wife was given a $25,000 raise in December – plus a $3,866 bonus – even though she began working for the state only last July, The Post has learned.
    • A Paterson administration source said, “Many of the governor’s employees have been placed on the payrolls of state agencies in order to make it look like the governor’s staff has been reduced.”

Pataki

  • 9/6/03: (New York Times) On paper, Gov. George E. Pataki has shrunk the payroll of the Executive Chamber significantly this year, paring 30 salaried employees and cutting 10 part-time interns. But like most things in Albany, what appears on paper is not the whole story.
    • In addition, the governor’s budget does not account for 40 people who work for the Executive Chamber but are on the payrolls of other state agencies, a separate staff that has not shrunk in the last two years and has, in fact, been replenished with new hires, budget officials say. Those employees, like those on his payroll, work for him in Albany and Manhattan, performing tasks including legal work, travel arrangements, and public relations. When those people are accounted for, the staff reduction this year is closer to 14 percent.
    • It is not unusual for a governor to find creative ways to hold onto his staff, particularly those who have worked closely with him in a campaign. Governors going back at least to Nelson A. Rockefeller have used similar practices to keep the bottom line of the Executive Chamber down while finding ways to make strategic hires.

Mario Cuomo

  • 2/6/84: (NY Times) Last year, Governor Cuomo, faced with his projections of a state deficit, announced that he would cut the budget for his personal staff by 10 percent as a symbolic gesture to show state agencies how to do more with less.
    • But state records show that while Mr. Cuomo did reduce his personnel budget by 10 percent – $600,000 – he did not cut the number of employees who report to him. Instead, he used the payrolls of a number of state agencies to add dozens of additional workers at a cost of at least $1 million by using payrolls of state agencies.
    • The additional employees include secretaries, drivers, a speechwriter, a scheduler, a rabbi, an appointments officer and experts on many issues. Their pay shows up in a variety of agencies, according to the State Comptroller’s office. Not Unusual Practice
    • There is nothing unusual about borrowing employees from state agencies to work in the Governor’s office, and other New York Governors have done so.

Rockefeller

  • 9/6/03: (New York Times) It is not unusual for a governor to find creative ways to hold onto his staff, particularly those who have worked closely with him in a campaign. Governors going back at least to Nelson A. Rockefeller have used similar practices to keep the bottom line of the Executive Chamber down while finding ways to make strategic hires.

 

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