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Authorities generous with our money

You've gotta love state authorities.  I know I do. As a reporter, they're the gift that keeps on giving.

I've got a story in today's paper on a generous severance package granted former New York Power Authority CEO Roger Kelley, whose resignation was demanded, and received, by Gov. David Paterson in June.

Kelley left the job July 31, and before departing, he negotiated a severance package with NYPA Chairman Frank McCollough, who has also since resigned. Kelley was only on the job for 13 months and earned an annual salary of $246,750.

The severance deal gives him nearly $110,000 in walkaway money, plus reimbursement for undisclosed expenses he'll incur for the next six months (I'm guessing health insurance). The authority also will pick up the cost of a job placement service.

Kelley's two predecessors left the job without a dime.

It was no secret that members of the authority's governing board were taken aback when Paterson sacked Kelley, and the severance package may be its way of trying to make things up to Kelley. Still, these are public dollars.

Enough with NYPA. Let's turn to the New York Thruway Authority.

When we last heard from them, they were raising tolls. What we didn't know is that the board members raising tolls were getting the authority to pick up the cost of their health insurance, despite a warning from State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in February 2007 that the compensation was illegal. Board members are supposed to serve without compensation.

State Comptroller Tomas DiNapoli has completed an audit that showed the authority continued to pay the premiums of policies for five current and former commissioners until March of this year. The cost: $51,667.

Said DiNapoli: "This is just one more example of the need for the Thruway Authority to look at its own finances first before it hits up the public for more money.”

True dat.

One more thing. This nifty new Web site has added the Power Authority's payroll to its extensive list of databases.   

Before posting the payroll, which is current through May of this year, SeeThroughNY did an analysis that found the authority has 1,567 employees earning an average of $83,853 a year. 

Nice work if you can get it.

I imagine Thurway Authority payrolls will be posted before long.



New York Power Authority | State government
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