Gov: ‘No Choice’ But To Lay Off State Workers Early

Paterson Blames Situation On Union Not Making Concessions

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Going back on a pledge not to layoff state workers before Jan. 1, Gov. David Paterson said Thursday a round of layoffs will begin before the end of 2010 to close New York’s massive budget gap.

As CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports, state agencies say the cutbacks are going too far.

It’s always that last question that produces the bombshell: “Why aren’t you calling a spade a spade and talking about the unions in this state?”

And Paterson did not hesitate.

“They have left us no choice. We will probably, in fact, we will lay off workers before the end of the year,” Paterson said.

Patricia Baker is the VP of the Public Employees Federation, which represents 59,000 New York State professional, technical, and scientific employees. The state unions have a written agreement with the governor that he will not lay off workers before Dec. 31.

“We do have an agreement with the governor and we’re gonna hold him to that agreement,” Baker said.

“They have fought and tried to restrain our administration at every turn,” Paterson said.

“We are not people who live in this state and work in this state and do not understand what’s happening. And everything that happens affects us also,” Baker responded.

The governor said the state could save $250 million if more workers took early retirement. But the workers say state agencies are already at bare bones. Research scientist Don Morgenstern is the union rep at Downstate Medical in Brooklyn.

“And God forbid he would lay off nurses in the hospital. That’s something I wouldn’t even want to think about because what that would do to our patients, to healthcare in this community, is something I wouldn’t even want to think about,” Morgenstern said.

“They will blame the layoffs on me, but in their hearts they know their failure to come to the table and give the slightest bit of concession is the reason that we are in the situation we’re in now,” Paterson said.

According to State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli the state actually ended the month of August with more than a half of a million dollars in surplus. But what has happened since Sept. 3 is that there has been a negative cash flow every day and that now the state is broke.

There are 131,000 state employees whom the governor controls directly. However, there are another 163,000 state employees in public authorities like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the power authority, and the state university.

And what control a governor may have over those employees — is not clearly defined.

  • helga

    It doesn’t matter whether a state worker works his ass off. the state does not determine lay offs by what makes the most sense, or who is the least hardest workers. they lay off the lowest paid workers, the ones who have had their jobs the least amount of time. They should lay off the persons who run administration. Laying off people who make over 100,000 who are the ones in charge of spending the money. Just think.. instead of shorting a hospital 6 cleaning personell who make peanuts they could get rid of one administrator. But they always exempt them first.

  • cleanupnynow

    David Paterson is the one who should be laid off.

    The fact is that David Paterson was never up to the job of governing. Paterson and his crew’s incompetence and wanton ways is evident in the “The Democratic Conference: Organizational and Operational Structure Report”, a report detailing how Paterson’s Senate Minority Office was managed, or more precisely mismanaged, when he was Senate Minority Leader.

    This report heavily criticized Paterson’s office for its wanton PATRONAGE, LACK OF LEADERSHIP, INDECISIVENESS and INFIGHTING, set against a backdrop of general CHAOS – in other words the office was a ZOO. Those interviewed in the report indicated that its chief of staff the disorganized and inept Michael Jones-Bey had no management skills, would get DRUNK with staff, often coming in the office with a HANGOVER, and should be fired.

    Amazingly, for running such a DYSFUNCTIONAL CHAOTIC office, the disorganized and hugely inept Michael Jones-Bey was picked by David Paterson to mismanage the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development (MWBE) at Empire State Development Corporation.

    Now that’s the Paterson Way – being rewarded for your incompetence.

    New Yorkers do not deserve to punished any further by David Paterson’s presence any longer

    David Paterson needs to RESIGN NOW.

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    […] News reports Gov: ‘No Choice’ But To Lay Off State Workers Early Going back on a pledge not to layoff state workers before Jan. 1, Gov. David Paterson said Thursday […]

  • Livin in the Real World

    State workers should suffer the same fate as the private sector. Layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts…there are no garantees any more. Just be happy to have a job and then work your ass off to keep it. Making yourself indespensible is the best insurance policy you can have.

  • arturo hernandez

    i’d like to suggest to the state workers, that they ask paterson to make wine out of water. or perhaps taxes should be raised 2000%, that should solve the problem.

    • DanTe

      Or just squeeze the dirty lazy rats out of the system, “arturo hernandez”.

  • Disgusted

    This is crazy. Just make the rich pay their fair share in taxes. Then, we would have a huge state budget surplus.

  • logiKs

    You may think public employees are overpaid, and don’t deserve or earn what they make.
    But if you’re a private sector wage earner, that’s the kind of sentiment that will ultimately lead to YOU earning less.
    The stalwart public employee unions are one of the few remaining mechanisms preventing the decline of all wages.
    So before you rail against the “exorbitant” pay packages of your fellow wage earners, realize this: what’s bad for any
    of your fellow wage earners is ultimately bad for YOU.

    • DanTe

      Your “logiks” is about the same as those of a rapist being interviewed on TV asking the audience how would they like to be treated that way in jail? Here’s a clue: I don’t expect to be treated like that because I haven’t raped anyone – taxpayers or otherwise.

  • DanTe

    He’s just doing the dirty work before the new anointed democrat governor (Cuomo) takes charge. This way, Cuomo can keep his hands lily white. And the union twits are too stupid to be mad at the lily white.

  • Neal

    Let’s lay the Governor off now! and keep the workers! His payoffs should cover it!

  • O Noh

    Being laid off while on vacation is tactic used by some employers.

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