NYS Department of Corrections Gets Approval to hire Fifty-three (53) Deputy Superintendents

$5.3 million dollars in salary during hiring freeze is questioned by Union

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ALBANY, NY (08/31/2009)(readMedia)-- The New York State Correction Officer's Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) is outraged that the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections would approve the budgeting of fifty-three (53) deputy-superintendents during these uncertain and bleak fiscal times at a cost of $5.3 million dollars to New York taxpayers; while at the same time closing prisons and cutting Correction Officer positions.

"New York is going through a tough economic crisis, we are all being told to make cuts and yet, this department operates above the rules and quietly below the radar to get approval for fifty-three highly paid administrators in July 2009. Does that make any sense?" asked Donn Rowe, President of NYSCOPBA, the union that represents New York State Correction Officers.

The Department of Corrections had secretively hired the fifty-three deputy-superintendents without approval from the department of budget, while at the same time communicating to the Legislature and the public it was necessary to consolidate inmates, close prisons and cut correction officer jobs. "Cutting hundreds of Correction Officer's who makes $40,000 a year in order to maintain a bloated and highly compensated administration is a slap in the face to my membership and dangerous for New York's prisons" , said Rowe. According to the New York State Department of Correction's most recent payroll data, they employ over nine-hundred administrators in their Albany administration building alone, with an annual payroll of over $52 million dollars. When benefits are added, the cost for administrators who never have any contact with inmates, the cost to taxpayers rises to over $75 million dollars annually.

NYSCOPBA's Executive Vice-President Chris Hickey added, "This is not the first time Commissioner Fischer violated the hiring freeze that currently applies to all New York state workers and departments. In October 2008, during the first phase of the Governor's order to make departmental cuts, the Commissioner callously created a new Deputy Commissioner position for Osborne McKay." Deputy Commissioner for Correctional Industries and Diversity Management McKay was hired at $120,000.

President Rowe noted that the $5.3 million dollars in salary they just approved could have paid for the correction officer's positions that are desperately needed back in New York's prisons. According to the attached Department of Corrections July 20, 2009 bi-weekly action plan staffing report, the department is down approximately six-hundred approved correction officer positions from where they ought to be. Also on this report they approved budgeting for fifty-three deputy superintendents. "We need the security in the prisons, not at the administration building in Albany", Rowe stated. The recently approved fifty-three deputy superintendents each average $100,000 in salary and that does not include lavish benefits of free cars, gas, homes on state property with no property taxes etc...

New York State has lost over 2,500 correction officers since 1999, with over 850 positions eliminated within the last eight months alone. Commissioner Fischer is fond of stating that we 10,000 less inmates since 1999, yet during this same period we have watched the administration grow to over 900 non-security employees at their administration building in Albany. "I would simply ask, Why do we employ such a large administration to oversee far less staff and inmates?" Asked Rowe.

Rowe concluded, "If Commissioner Fischer can go to the Department of Budget during this fiscal crisis and obtain a$5.3 million dollar approval, for unnecessary administrative positions that don't even watch inmates, I'm sure he can now go back and get funding to properly staff the prisons with correction officers and stop playing games with the safety of my members"

For more information contact NYSCOPBA at 518-427-1551 or e-mail DROWE@NYSCOPBA.Org