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State

Governor brings on 4 new staffers, despite hiring freeze

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Office of the Governor
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has hired four new employees despite a strict hiring freeze.

In April, state budget director Robert Mujica laid out rules for state agencies wishing to hire. Agencies need to submit new hires for approval by the Division of Budget and show that they are essential to protect public health.

But the memos sent to the Division of Budget by Cuomo’s office for the four new hires contained no information about why the positions were necessary for public health and safety. Paperwork obtained by the Albany Times Union showed that these positions were only approved by the Division of Budget after the new hires already came on board.

As the state faces a $14 billion deficit this year, the Cuomo hirings represent a total taxpayer cost of $567,000 in annual salaries. A Division of Budget spokesman defended the hires by saying that communication specialists have played a critical role in the pandemic, and that the Division of Budget had verbally approved the hires.

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