"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Livin' Well (& Major Staff Changes)

The Democrats are livin' well (News10Now) in their new digs as the majority members and there are no exceptions locally. Senator Aubertine saw his salary increase roughly 14% while his staffers saw even greater increases.

Along with substantial increases in pay comes a major staff duty change - Ed Gaffney is out as the Senator's Chief of Staff and Lee Willbanks is in as the new Chief of Staff for the Senator.

Staff Name          Title on 12/24/08          Salary          Title on 2/18          New salary      % Change In Pay

Drew Mangione   Comm Director            33,000         same                      40,000            21%

Lee Willbanks      Legislative Director      38,000         Chief of Staff        75,000            97%

Ed Gaffney           Chief of Staff             30,000         District Director      30,000         0
(Mr. Gaffney cannot earn any more and still double dip with his state pension from working at DOT)

Diane Baker         Constituent Liaison       32,000         Constituent Liaison    38,000        19%

Kathleen Funicane Constituent Liaison      37,000         Project coordinator   43,000        16%

Suzanne Donnelly   Executive Assistant     25,000         same                         25,000        0

Kathleen Doe        Administrative Assistant 9,630         same                         12,000        25%

Jannifer Isberner    Constituent Liaison       30,000        same                         33,000        10%

Jill Joanette            Legislative aide            28,900        Legislative analyst      37,000        28%

Loren Mortimer     Central Staff Regional coordinator 35,000 Community Liaison 40,000 14%

Kathryn White       Constituent Liaison      30,000         same                         38,000        27%

As unemployment soars, local companies cut back and the local economy slips deeper into recession, at least there's some good news--if you happen to work for Senator Aubertine and the New York State Senate Majority.

The raises were implemented before they even passed a single piece of legislation in their new role as majority members.

No need to worry about the 2.5% the city of Watertown gave the CSEA, that is small potatoes compared to New York State raises. 


RWhyley said...

A 97 percent pay hike??? You gotta be kidding!!!

Is this guy completely tone deaf to what's going on in the world around him?

Darrel better not ever talk to us about making sacrifices, and hard choices, blah, blah, blah....

Dan Francis said...

Good times; bad times; any time: tell me the GOP never "rewarded" their staff(s) as well?

Um ... Sen. Jim Wright from Senate and takes a whole new Rolodex full of contracts to the PR firm (lobbying), then to DANC and a huge increase in salary ...

Come on, IV - fair is fair ... we love it. We must, we keep them in office and well-funded and well-paid, too.

I don't aim to appear overly critical, but your one-side hammering is wearing thin ...

BL: they all do it.

Anonymous said...

Ooooooohhhh! A 97% increase in salary, to almost $38,000 a year. Wow!! Now he can throw some SPAM (HAM) in with the rice and beans at dinner with his family. Maybe even one of his children, (but only one) can go to a SUNY college.

Why begrudge these fine people over such paltry sums. What is it a slow news day?

Anonymous said...

Remember, Lee Willbanks is DEC's Regional Director'husband.

Anonymous said...

The whole staff still makes less than what Wright's staffers were making for same jobs.

Political IV said...


I understand your point. Although, it is relevant given all the attention being paid to pay raises from the Governor's office, DANC, C.of W./CSEA, etc.

Plus it is also newsworthy that the Senator made a major staffing change in the Chief of Staff position.

Now teacher, I will write on the blackboard 100 times I will not pick on Darrel Aubertine for a week.

Carry On!

Dan Francis said...

IV 9:47: I agree and I am po'ed at the City for caving to CSEA, too.

We are in hard time and the City is about to raise taxes to meet shortfalls?

On top of backdoor assessment raises (I know, I got hit hard, too)...

When times are bad, electd officials have to tell labor and government employees: Sorry, we have to all suck it for awhile ... but we'll make it up later."

Most taxpayes would, I believe, accept that.

* They will not accept us changing our name from Watertown to AIG, though.

~ dmf

elected council person said...

Dan, I agree that we all(elected officials and taxpayers) have to tell municipal, school, state and federal employees that times are tuff, property taxes are among the highest and raises need to be kept to a minimum or zilch; HOWEVER my local municipality and school has done that and the last 3 times they went to arbitration and every time the raises were decided by the arbitrator to be between 3.5 and 5 percent. When payroll (not even including health insurance) is such a large part of the budgets, it becomes impossible to keep tax increases to a minimum. Some feel lay offs or less personale is the solution but we loose that one too because unions protect their members against ALL.

What is the answer ??
Get rid of what ?? GOOD LUCK!!

Anonymous said...

Aubertine's bonus payments to his political staff is a disgrace!

97% raises? 75k salaries, to a guy whose wife makes six-figures at DEC?

How many Northern NY families make that kind of income?

Is this Darrel's idea of "stimulus" for Watertown, or at least, just for Jeff Co Dems?

Anonymous said...

What's with your silence regarding Jim Wright's earning more than any of these guys with his pension alone, now earning another 150k
(more than half of these salaries combined)?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what was in the past. Times are different now and this is obsurd.

Dan Francis said...

ECP 1:27: You're correct and I'd love to be in office to see the books and the budget, line item by line item and review department "requests" etc.

But like most on the outside, I can only bitch and moan and speak out with one voice - hoping other voices chime in -- they usually do not. People are concerned but also feel helpless at the same time about government spending and believe it: SPENDING is the culprit.

There is always room to "cut" as you say, reduce in places, shore back, avoid silly spending, or simply not spend as much until times allow it on necessary things; and not nice to have things.

Those in office will always say they are doing their best.

But all we on the outside have is their word that they are trying and in some cases [to be fair], sometimes they probably are trying hard -- but in all cases, they do not try hard enough.

The proof of thier effort and what I say is in our tax bills.

* Right now, times are very tough. Elected officials have to be tough, too. No matter how much flak they get from the "insiders" at the trough, they have to hang tough -- that's leadership.

~ soap box away now.

Anonymous said...

The spending problems at City Hall are at the department head level. Yet those people recieved an even bigger raise (than CSEA) last summer, and the City Manager got those approved with no delays at all, with no increases in their health insurance costs. Why do we always single out the lowest paid employees when it is time to make "sacrifices?" Department heads are exempt from this kind of reality, or so it seems, every time.

Anonymous said...

arent you forgetinghe is one of us

Anonymous said...

If he's one of us, can I get a raise, too?

Or do I just get to pay for them?

Anonymous said...

Wright didn't have that many staffers did he? Why does Aubertine need more? Has the district grown that much?

These are tough times and at the very least our government officials should be belt tightening just like the rest of us.

The man says he's one of us? I don't think any of us is spending so freely, especially somebody else's money.

Aubertine should lead by example. He's doing a piss poor job

Anonymous said...

Interesting, 97 percent pay up, who leads who?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan Francis,, that is the problem, you think it is a reward, and you are correct that is how it is done,,?should it be

Anonymous said...

Dairy farms failing.

Covidian closing.

Now NY Air Brake.

But besides fat raises for his bloated staff, Darrel skips his own Syracuse meeting on the federal stimulus that's supposed to help the rest of us.


Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious...a salary of 38,000 a year?!?!?!? how outrageous!!!!

how do i get me some of that? i hate not being on the gravy train.

38,000 a year...with that i could rent a whole apartment!!!

Anonymous said...

I have a dear friend that tells me that "The only thing wrong with politics is that it is too political". Well this is a good example. Here we are ragging on a small group of people that collectively do not even earn the average wage of a New Yorker. That aberage wage is reported to be almost $50,000 annually and this group averages just over $37,000. As far as the raises,the one cited mostly for a 97% raise, as is some of the others, is actually for a promotion and not a raise. Let us consider one more thing. Staff workers for either Democratic or Republican Legislators do not get paid overtime, or for working on Saturday or Sunday. What does that mean, these "overpaid" people that have to go where the Senator goes, weekends, evenings,etc, basically do it on their own time. We as tax payers are getting our monies worth for what these dedicated workers have to put up with to do their jobs. What exactly is that, you may ask, well it is us, the people that call on them for assistance when we need it.

RWhyley said...

10:56 -- Thanks, Drew (21%).

Now that you've heard the spin, here's the facts:

According to the Census, the median income for a male in Jefferson County is $28,727.

It's $21,787 for females.

That makes Darrel's chief of staff's income about three times the JC median.

When combined with his wife's six-digit taxpayer-funded salary, this family could qualify as "millionaires" under the emerging Senate Democrat definition.

Andm for what it's worth, his predecessor earned $30k for the same job.

But, that's all beside the point, which relates to the SIZE of these increases.

Outside of Darrel Aubertine's staff, can you find anyone, in recession-weary 2009, in Jefferson County, NY, who got a 97% raise?

A 21% raise (for the same job, btw)

28% 25% 19% 16%

Most of us are happy to have a job -- and scared to death about what tomorrow might bring.

You've got to do a better job convincing us that any of these raises are defensible.

Dan Francis said...

Anon 8:46; I never said "it" (whatever "It" you imply is) was a reward...

My post is clear - perhaps your head is not as clear? Afterall, it already afternoon?


Dan Francis said...

Anon 8:46: I took another look. You will note that I put the word reward in " paren " ...

You do know what that means, don't you?

Scurry on...

Anonymous said...

Gee Drew, what choices 7k offer---will it be new piercings or a progressive tattoo?

Anonymous said...

Please re-read the salaries again. The Chief of Staff position went from $38K to $75K for the 97% salary increase. Sounds like a nice chunk of change to me.

Anonymous said...

97% raise sounds like political payback . when is this bs going to end this is why this country is in the position its in . i bet if darrel had an employee on his farm lets see if he would give him a raise like this . it is easy to hand out money when it aint coming off your own back .i hope hard working people remember this when he comes up for reelection .

Anonymous said...

Ay wurk on Senor Aubertine's farm and he no like give fat raises like-uh theese.

But caramba! Ay just happy heezuh uno of uzz!

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