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Dr. Mary Bassett resigns as New York state health commissioner

NY Senate Defends Payroll Tactic Upping Lawmakers' Salaries

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A lawyer for the New York Senate says paying leadership stipends to state lawmakers who don't hold the positions is constitutional.

In response to newspaper reports revealing at least six senators were salaried for chairmanships they don't hold, the counsel to the Republican-led Senate released a memo Saturday justifying the compensations. The memo's release came after The New York Times last week found some lawmakers had been incorrectly marked as committee chairmen in state payroll documents to receive additional incomes.

Senate lawyer David Lewis wrote that the salaries fall under state law allowing for unspecified pay for senators serving in "special capacity."

According to the Times, the senators hold lower roles in the committees but have received chairmen salaries of up to $18,000. The actual chairmen of the committees took higher Senate stipends.

© 2017 AP

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.