Today’s news:

Marshall budgets $85K for official photographer

Borough President Helen Marshall’s office has requested that a borough photographer’s contract be renewed and authorized as much as $85,000 per year to pay him to photograph her at public events, according to a proposal published in the City Record.

The proposal is seeking an extension of photographer Dominick Totino’s contract through Aug. 31, 2011, and that $85,000 be set aside per year to pay him for his services, according to the City Record, the city’s municipal newspaper.

But Dan Andrews, Marshall’s spokesman, said Totino received no city benefits, medical coverage or a pension.

“We’re lucky to have him,” he said. “He’s a very good photographer. We save the city by not having a photographer full time. He’s hired on an hourly basis, per assignment.”

Totino, who lives in Whitestone, began working at the borough president’s office in 1997 under then-Borough President Claire Shulman, Andrews said.

He shoots as many as 200 events per year, including Marshall’s studio portrait and numerous public events.

“During the last couple of years, he didn’t make $85,000,” Andrews said. “We ask that he earn up to $85,000, but that’s more than we expect to spend. We didn’t want to not put in enough and then have to go through the complex contracting process again.”

In 2009, Totino billed the city $46,000 and this year earned an estimated $35,000, Andrews said.

On the City Record’s site, the proposal calls for “an intent to renew for photography services for the Queens Borough President’s Office to Dominick Totino Photography, Inc. The contract shall run from Sept. 1, 2010 to Aug. 31, 2011 and may not exceed $85,000.”

The proposal was posted Aug. 19.

The New York Post reported that the city’s other borough presidents had only spent hundreds of dollars on photographers for public events.

Andrews said that photos taken at events by Totino are sent out to Marshall’s constituents. Some of the events include people who have been honored by Marshall’s office, while some of the photographer’s pictures are sent to city newspapers.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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