Assembly Freshmen Find Extra Pay in Seats

| Press Releases

Three members of the state Assembly were added to the state payroll after their November 2016 elections, allowing them to collect almost $17,000 in extra pay, according to data posted today on, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

During the six-month period ending March 31, 2017, Assemblymembers Joseph Errigo (R-Livingston County), Melissa Miller (R-Nassau County) and Clyde Vanel (D-Queens) were each paid $23,994—$5,648 more than other freshmen, who were paid $18,346—after being added to the state payroll several weeks before their terms began on January 1, 2017.

The three were elected to seats that became vacant prior to Election Day; however, the election held November 8, 2016 determined who would be seated in the 2017-18 legislature, not who would fill a vacancy.

At least nine other members of the Assembly elected in November 2014 were each paid an extra $3,703 under this practice, SeeThroughNY data shows.

The newly uploaded data detail $110 million in spending by members of the state Assembly and Senate between October 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. The data also show:

  • The Assembly and Senate paid $6.3 million to the U.S. Postal Service, mostly for campaign-style legislative mailers.
  • The two houses together paid $357,260 to six firms for legal services.
  • The Senate spent $6,437 on leather for chairs in the Senate chamber.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and do business. SeeThroughNY this summer marked nine years of connecting New Yorkers with information about how their tax dollars are spent.

This piece was revised to reflect a subsequent statement by the Assembly speaker’s office, as further explained in this update.