Using electronic payroll records, Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y) reporter Delen Goldberg found that New York state officials hired 51,000 people at a cost to taxpayers of more than $1 billion in salaries since Gov. David Paterson ordered a “hard” hiring freeze in state government nearly two years ago. Former Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll earns $155,000 annually in an environmental job the governor created for him. Paterson hired an executive assistant at a salary of $178,000, a special assistant at $135,000 a year and a scheduler at $105,000 a year. A man responsible for blogging and tweeting for the Senate was hired by the Democratic majority at $120,000 a year. New York hired 699 people to jobs that pay $100,000 a year or more.