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Latest News - May 2010

May 12, 2010
Gov. Paterson: I’ll take furlough, too, if it gets union leaders on board
Source: New York Daily News
Author: Glenn Blain

Gov. Paterson is willing to do what state workers won't - take an unpaid day!


Paterson, still stinging from a federal judge's decision to block his furloughs of state workers, volunteered Thursday to take a one-day-a-week unpaid break if it would help prod union leaders into making $250 million in concessions.


"Listen I'll be happy to take the furlough," Paterson told WOR's John Gambling in his weekly radio appearance.


"I cut my entire salary 10% last year - of the gross, not even of what I take home, and donated it back to the state, $18,000," he boasted.


Paterson quickly pivoted to bash union leaders for refusing to make any sacrifices in solving the state's $9.2 billion budget gap.


He also took issue with the controversy over the salary hikes he granted to five promoted members of his press shop. He was forced to rescind the raises a day later amid mounting outrage.
It was a "phony problem," Paterson insisted.


"Every time we try to do something, we get criticized."


"Look how the situation ended up, these five people lost their increases and 100,000 workers that haven't contributed a dime to $250 million of savings, they just got their 4% increase back," Paterson added.


Union leaders, and even some Democratic lawmakers, scoffed at Paterson's remarks.


"One could say he's been on a furlough for the past year," said one legislator.


Darcy Wells, spokeswoman for the state's Public Employees Federation, called Paterson's comments "nonsense."


Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook later tried to explain the gov's personal furlough pledge.


He said the governor was not offering to take a day off, but would give up a day's pay for every furlough day the union accepts.


Paterson will not give up another 10% of his pay.


"He has no intention of doing that again," Hook said.


Paterson's vow came a day after Albany Federal Judge Lawrence Kahn temporarily halted his furlough plan, saying workers could face "irreparable harm" from a 20% pay cut.


Kahn scheduled a May 26 hearing on the dispute.


Union groups, who filed lawsuits to stop the furloughs, protested outside Paterson's Manhattan office yesterday.


"I have a mortgage to pay," said Arlisa Blackwell, a state worker from Brooklyn. "Two days of pay taken out of each paycheck will really affect me."


Paterson criticized Kahn for freezing the furloughs without first holding a hearing - and for accepting union claims that the furloughs would cost workers 20% of their pay.


Paterson insisted workers would lose only 20% of their pay for the planned eight-week furlough - not on a full year's salary.

 

 

 

 


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