9-11: Testimony: State Employees Got 9/11 Bonuses


NEW YORK (AP) - Some state employees reaped thousands of dollars worth of ‘‘bonuses’’ for their work after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a state official testified Monday.

Robert Ryan, who headed a state agency after being Gov. George Pataki’s campaign manager, said at an Assembly committee hearing that he increased his six-figure salary and the pay of all 14 of his employees with bonuses.
The extra compensation, in cash or extra days off, wasn’t approved by the agency as required. Ryan said he got approval from his chief financial officer to compensate staff working at the World Trade Center site after he saw an employee crying over the traumatic assignment.

The Assembly committee is investigating reports of abuse, political hiring and lack of oversight at hundreds of state authorities. The authorities were created by the Legislature to be independent of the governor and politics to run specific services such as highways, mass transit and economic development.

‘‘We have evidence of compensation to top management when, as far as I know, firemen and police of the city got no extra bonuses for doing worse, more grotesque work,’’ Assemblyman Richard Brodsky said after the hearing of his authorities committee.

Ryan said he received 234 hours of bonus time - worth $13,859 according to a 2003 internal report - of ‘‘World Trade Center Appreciation Bonuses.’’ His base salary then was $121,143, according to the report, which Brodsky released Monday.

Ryan, who headed the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp., offered no apologies for taking the bonuses, which he said he only accepted after his employees insisted.

‘‘I know what I saw, it changed me forever, I carried body bags. It was a horrific scene,’’ the 49-year-old Ryan said.

The Pataki administration responded with a statement saying the issues raised had been addressed two years ago.

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