State Workforce Under Spitzer: Back to the Future?

by E.J. McMahon |  | Reports

Eliot Spitzer’s first year as governor of New York has seen the state workforce grow to its highest level since Mario Cuomo’s last year as governor, according to payroll data from the state Comptroller’s Office.

Nine months after Spitzer’s inauguration, the state payroll totaled 235,014 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, an increase of 3,158 over the same period in 2006. This is the largest third-quarter count of state workers since 1994, when there were 242,271 positions on an FTE basis.

With the average full-time state employee costing roughly $82,677 in salary and benefits, the larger workforce will only add to the challenge the governor faces in closing a projected $4.3 billion budget shortfall in fiscal 2008-09.

The financial burden will be compounded by forthcoming collective bargaining agreements, based on the relatively generous pattern Spitzer has just established with the state’s largest union. The growth in the payroll as measured by the comptroller’s headcount is generally consistent with plans unveiled in Governor Spitzer’s first budget, which calls for adding a total of 3,903 employees during the fiscal year ending next March 31.