Updated State Payroll for 2008 Posted Online

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CONTACT: Tim Hoefer

(518) 434-3100

New York’s complete state government payroll for 2008 was posted today on www.SeeThroughNY.net, the government transparency website sponsored by the Empire Center for Public Policy. The searchable payroll database includes names, titles, base pay rates and total pay received by the 367,732 people who worked in the state’s executive, legislative or judicial branches at any point last year.

The payroll illustrates the continuing turnover in the state workforce as the fiscal crisis was developing in 2008:

State agencies in all three branches of government hired 40,831 new employees last year, including seasonal workers and part-timers. However, according to the state comptroller’s quarterly count of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, the net increase in the workforce between the first pay periods of 2008 and 2009 came to 1,785 FTEs.

Excluding the State University and City University, employees hired in 2008 included 5,374 individuals at base pay rates of $30,000 and over; 1,784 hired at base pay rates of $50,000 or more; and 232 hired at base pay rates of $100,000 and over.

Including overtime and other extra pay, 833 state employees earned more than the Governor’s $179,000 salary.

The highest paid employees in the state government database are at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn–Stephen Onesti, chairman of the neurosurgery department, and Wilson Ko, chief of cardiothoracic surgery. Onesti took home $947,463 and Ko was paid a total of $817,116 in 2008.

Former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned effective March 17, 2008, received $39,614 of his $179,000 salary. Governor David Paterson received a total of $172,446 last year.

SeeThroughNY also provides searchable payroll databases for New York City’s municipal government and for 19 state public authorities, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Also posted are searchable databases of teachers’ union and superintendent contracts for 733 school districts, legislative pork barrel member items, and operations spending by both houses of the state Legislature. The website has attracted more than three-quarters of a million unique visitors since it was launched on July 31, 2008, with searchable databases including the state payroll as of May 2008, which did not include overtime and extras.

The Albany-based Empire Center is a non-partisan, independent think tank.

(Tables listing the 50 highest-paid employees in each branch of state government in 2008, plus separate lists for higher education, are available by downloading the full PDF here.)