An ex-con busted for theft as a teen is amongst a bunch of staff of New York City’s embattled Board of Elections who cashed in with huge overtime payouts final 12 months, information present.
The BOE, embarrassed by a huge gaffe within the vote rely for the mayoral race, forked over $107,031 in overtime pay to Alvin Samuels in 2020 on high of his wage of $106,627, based on information compiled for The Post by the Empire Center for Public Policy.
“That’s just extraordinary, bringing in that much overtime. I can’t imagine what he’s doing for that much overtime,” stated Ken Sherrill, a professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College and a former Democratic district chief.
Samuels, an administrative affiliate, was amongst 10 BOE staff pulling in additional than $60,000 in overtime final 12 months on the company which has lengthy been assailed as a patronage mill.
Antonio Ortiz Jr., a senior programs analyst, labored a whopping 2,342 overtime hours and took dwelling $164,791 in additional pay, dwarfing his common wage of $116,128. The payout was not an anomaly. The earlier 12 months he acquired $139,475 in overtime.
Abiodun Ogunwale, a pc specialist, acquired $114,440 in overtime in 2020; Arturo Martinez, a senior pc programmer, obtained $96,739; and William Cardona, an affiliate staff analyst, took dwelling $95,128.
Samuels is a chief instance of a employee touchdown a gig with the BOE as a result of of political connections — and in spite of his previous.
He joined the company in 1993 shortly after serving six years in state jail for his function within the armed theft of a retailer clerk who was killed within the stickup, based on state information and a printed report.
Samuels was initially charged with second-degree homicide, although he was not the triggerman, based on Newsday, which famous in 2001 that he was then the BOE’s highest overtime earner.
He acquired the job with the assistance of a Democratic district chief in Manhattan who knew him from the neighborhood and wished to provide him a second likelihood, the paper reported.
But Samuels was again within the clink in 1997 after he allegedly beat up his girlfriend, additionally a Board of Elections worker. He pleaded responsible to misdemeanor assault and possession of a 9mm handgun.
He saved his job whereas serving 9 months at Rikers Island, and acquired paid $7,624 in go away throughout his stretch behind bars, Newsday stated. He was named because the performing deputy chief clerk within the Manhattan workplace in 2014.
Samuels advised The Post he was the supervisor of the board’s Manhattan workplace and opened and closed the ability, however had nothing to do with the mayoral vote rely. He stated he needed to work additional hours final 12 months to supervise the implementation of pandemic security measures.
He declined to deal with his previous, referring inquiries to a BOE spokeswoman.
Overtime was so hefty it made up 16, 23 and 19 p.c of complete wages in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively, the Empire Center discovered.
All that additional work didn’t cease the company from botching the presidential primary when it was unprepared to course of the quantity of mail-in ballots, and a few 80,000 votes have been disqualified.
Tim Hoefer, the middle’s CEO, stated the overtime pay was method above what could be thought of sound administration.
“Overtime costs that hover at, or around, 20 percent of total payroll is eye popping. Ultimately, taxpayers pay the price, so BOE should explain these exorbitant costs,” he stated.
The Board of Elections has been beneath scrutiny because it was pressured to scrap the tallies it launched Tuesday with the outcomes of ranked alternative votes within the mayor’s race, saying “human error” brought about about 135,000 check ballots to be included within the rely.
The company is overseen by 10 commissioners who’re chosen by the Republican and Democratic events. The staff has been led by a deputy, Dawn Sandow — described by one insider as “a disaster” — after its govt director took a medical go away.
“It’s just totally appalling and ridiculous and embarrassing,” stated Ruth Messinger, the previous Manhattan borough president, of the BOE’s mismanagement.
“It’s been this way forever — a partisan clubhouse with nepotistic appointments with no overruling expertise.”
Valerie Vazquez, a BOE spokeswoman, defended the overtime saying the company has a restricted staff “who are willing to work around the clock when necessary” and that 2020 was a historic 12 months as a result of of the presidential election and the pandemic.
“NYC BOE never once closed its doors and our heroic employees — essential workers — worked throughout this time to ensure that we met our statutory mandate to conduct all required elections,” she stated.
She didn’t tackle Samuels’ employment.