Even though Mayor Bloomberg says he might be forced to lay off 18,500 city workers—including 8,500 teachers, 3,150 police officers, and 1,050 firefighters—he has hired 15 members of his campaign staff. The Times notes that as the Mayor calls for "a leaner government that reflects the economic downturn, he is finding money in the budget for those who engineered his unexpectedly close re-election," paying many of the City Hall newcomers six-figure salaries and allowing several other city workers who left their jobs to work on the campaign to return to their posts with higher pay.

Bloomberg's highest profile hire might be campaign communications director Howard Wolfson, who just landed a $200,000-per-year gig with the city, but the Mayor has also brought on board Republican political operative Matthew Mahoney to head the Department of Environmental Protection for $160,000-per-year, Democratic strategist Larry Scott Blackmon at the Parks Department for $157,000-per-year, and campaign chief of staff Kim Molstre with the deputy mayor for $135,000-per-year. The Mayor defended his decision to hire by saying it would be unwise to make cuts at the top: "If there's any group that I wouldn't want to cut in tough times, it's those that can guide people and incent people and excite people to do more with less."

Altogether, the appointments cost taxpayers more than $2 million, and some unions and government groups aren't happy. "If we are tightening up our belts all over, we should be tightening up the belt at City Hall," said Harry Nespoli, the city's sanitation union leader and the president of the Municipal Labor Committee.