Salaries for public employees in New York

The average salary for public employees in local governments grew 2 percent to 4 percent over the past year, but the number of employees dropped 3.4 percent as governments trimmed their workforces in the face of budget cuts.

The number of employees on the payroll of cities, villages, towns and counties fell 3.4 percent -- from 174,804 workers in the 2009-10 fiscal year to 168,748 workers in the 2010-11 fiscal year, which ended March 31. The data comes from a review of payroll records by the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank based in Albany. The governments paid out $9.1 billion in wages in 2010-11, up less than 1 percent from the prior fiscal year, the group said.

Getting a clear picture of the salary data can be complicated. The data includes those who file with the state pension system, but in many cases police and fire employees are listed among general staff. And since it includes part-time workers, the numbers may also be skewed. The data also does not break out nuances that could skew an individual’s pay, such as unused sick leave paid to someone who is retiring.

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