New York Daily News Board of Elections managers getting huge pay raises by Celeste Katz
The city Board of Elections may not always work, but working there just got a lot more lucrative.
The bipartisan board’s commissioners went behind closed doors this week to approve raises that jack up the pay of a slew of top managers at a cost of nearly $202,000 a year — and that’s just to start.
The agency’s executive director, Staten Island Democrat Michael Ryan, will see his pay jump nearly 10%, to $198,200 from about $180,600 after the secret vote.
His deputy, Bronx Republican Dawn Sandow, will make $182,500, up more than 12% from about $162,600.
The highest-percentage hike went to Betty Ann Canizio-Aqil, the Democratic deputy chief clerk of the Brooklyn office. Her pay leaped 16.8%, from $102,755 to $120,000, records show.
Just behind her with a 15.2% bump from $104,134 to $120,000 was Anthony Ribustello, the deputy chief clerk of the board’s Bronx office.
Ribustello may be best known for having played Tony Soprano’s driver, Dante Greco, on the long-running TV drama.
But he also made headlines last year after he got slammed with a $1,500 Conflicts of Interest Board fine for supervising and promoting his brother Richard in Election Board jobs in violation of anti-nepotism rules.
Board President Michael Michel, a Queens Republican, didn’t respond to Daily News requests for comment about the rationale for the raises.
But City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who has waged a campaign to clean up a board that built a bad rep as a nest of patronage and blundering, had plenty to say.
“The Board of Elections waited until just after the (city) budget agreement was announced to sneak in a raise for top managers, who are already overpaid,” fumed Kallos, who helps oversee the agency as head of the Council’s Governmental Operations Committee.
Kallos said the raise money would have been better spent preparing and running elections to cut down on long lines and head off problems for voters.
“Between refusing to (advertise) for open positions or major meetings, failure to correct for nepotism, and constant overspending, they should be cutting salaries — not raising them,” Kallos said.
Seven top managers at the agency’s central office also scored 5% raises that balloon their checks from between $5,200 to nearly $8,000 a year.
Ryan said the raises were simply about fairness.
“The commissioners analyzed the salaries of day-to-day operations managers across city government,” he said. “This raise package was an effort to offset the disparity between the salaries paid at other city agencies and the salaries paid at the board.”
The commissioners did not vote raises for themselves.