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Posted: 8/4/2005 3:18:53 PM EDT

Pirro's chauffeur on pace to be county's highest-paid employee

(Original publication: August 1, 2005)

WHITE PLAINS — When Westchester legislators directed her to cut $1 million from her 2003 budget to help the county through a fiscal crisis, District Attorney Jeanine Pirro responded with an angry, fist-pounding warning that the legislators would have blood on their hands if they forced the cut.

"Who of you wants to meet with the parent of a child who is molested or even worse?" Pirro asked in a raised voice at an eleventh-hour meeting that left the legislators in stunned silence. "If you cut back in my office, we're going to have cases dismissed, we're going to have defendants walk."

In the end, the legislators insisted that Pirro make the cuts, which came on top of an earlier round of cuts a few months before. She abolished 17 positions, including 10 prosecutors, and turned over the prosecution of probation violators to the county attorney. Six prosecutors lost their jobs.

But even as she handed out the pink slips and spun off the probation cases, Pirro paid her bodyguard and driver $43,920 in overtime to accompany her to appointments that she now won't disclose. Combined with his regular pay, the overtime pushed the 2003 salary received by the bodyguard and driver, James O'Donnell, to $129,430, according to payroll records obtained under the state's Freedom of Information Law.

Little more than halfway through 2005, O'Donnell is making enough in overtime to push him past the county's top salaried employee by the end of the year. O'Donnell had made $87,430 in OT through Thursday on top of his regular $101,460 salary, which would bring his total pay to about $248,000 by Dec. 31 — or $46,000 more than Westchester Community College President Joseph Hankin — if the overtime accumulates at the same pace. In all, 5,400 people work for Westchester.

If O'Donnell does continue to put in the extra hours, Pirro — who makes $136,700 herself — will have spent 58 percent of all the overtime she budgeted for her 237-member office on her driver and bodyguard.

Last year, O'Donnell made an additional $64,227 by working overtime shifts while assigned to Pirro that lasted as long as 14.5 hours. His overtime for the year totaled 1,109 hours, pushing his total pay to $150,887.
Link Posted: 8/4/2005 4:14:28 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/4/2005 4:18:15 PM EDT
That is a ton of scratch!
Link Posted: 8/4/2005 4:44:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/4/2005 4:45:48 PM EDT by rkbar15]
Just think. You could commute to work in this - 650 HP, 219 MPH top speed.

Link Posted: 8/4/2005 5:34:24 PM EDT
For that kind of money I'd guard her ass and screw it too! Come to think of it, maby he is taking his job "personally".
WTF ever happened to taking care of oneself? There are judges and proscuters, hell even members of the assembly all over the state who fend for themselfs. She sure as shit wouldn't have a job for long in Northern NY.
Link Posted: 8/4/2005 9:28:19 PM EDT
What's wrong with his current job?

Link Posted: 8/5/2005 12:54:49 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/5/2005 12:16:44 PM EDT
No doubt he was working OT last night as Pirro was on O'Reilly last night.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 8:59:33 AM EDT
She should have neither a driver nor a bodyguard, not at that kind of expense. She can drive herself places, and if self-defense is a concern, let her get a pistol permit, buy a handgun and learn how to use it effectively.
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