Overtime pay for state employees rose to nearly $1 billion, and salaries increased by six percent during the 2021 calendar year, according to data posted today to SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s government transparency website. 

The 2021 New York state government payroll includes the names, titles, base pay rates and total pay of more than 289,000 individuals who worked in the state’s executive, legislative or judicial branches at any point during calendar year 2021. Taxpayers can search state government payrolls dating back to 2008 on the SeeThroughNY.net website.  

State employee salaries rose 6.1 percent last year. The average full-time employee salary was $68,292, up from $64,124 in 2020. 

State agencies paid $953.6 million in overtime pay during the 2021 calendar year, a more than $100 million, or 12 percent, increase from 2020. Among overtime earners, 228 employees were paid $100,000 or more in overtime alone. Ninety-eight of the top 100 highest-paid employees were State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) officials.

The 2021 data also show:  

  • The highest-paid employee on the state payroll was Dr. Robert Corona, Jr., the CEO of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. Corona received $823,933 in total pay. The next four highest paid employees were:  
    • Gary Green, clinical associate professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, who received $774,860; 
    • Felix Vicente Matos Rodriguez, the CUNY Chancellor, who received $745,311; 
    • Francis Brunicardi, Dean of SUNY Downstate Medical Center, who received $704,522; and 
    • David Berger, vice president of hospital affairs at SUNY Downstate Medical Center who received $690,839. 
  • Included in the 100 highest-paid state employees are three SUNY coaches. SUNY Stony Brook football coach Charles Priore was paid $534,436 (#22) after receiving a six-figure raise. SUNY Buffalo basketball coach James Whitesell was paid $441,618 (#68) and the school’s football coach, Lance Leipold, was paid $419,632 (#93). 
  • James Malatras, who was named SUNY Chancellor in August 2020 and resigned the post in December 2021 was paid $508,600 in calendar year 2021, an increase of $148,971 from 2020. 
  • A total of 1,443 state employees, including 1,412 executive branch workers, were paid more than the governor’s statutory salary of $225,000. 

Not reflected in the data are costs of pensions, health insurance for employees and retirees, and other benefits.  

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 raise a family. 

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