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Assemblyman says state officials convicted of felonies shouldn’t retire with pensions

Posted 27 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Editor:

As a public official, I have sworn to protect the citizens of my district and taxpayers of New York State by honoring my office and embracing integrity, openness and transparency in my role as an elected leader.

It is repugnant to have taxpayers fund the pensions and retirement benefits for public officials convicted of corruption and other felonies related to their official duties. It is morally and professionally irresponsible to ask the residents, whom we have betrayed and stolen from, to line the pockets of public officials who have used their power and social status for personal gain.

We are public servants and our focus should be on improving the public’s faith in government and serving our constituents to the best of our abilities.

The Assembly Minority Conference has led the charge on stripping corrupt public officials of their state pension and retirement benefits. I sponsor bipartisan legislation, A.4643-A, that would accomplish these goals.

We were told by the Assembly Majority and Gov. Cuomo that a pension forfeiture bill would be voted upon during budget night this year. To the surprise of many, no such bill reached the Assembly floor for a vote for unknown reasons and we are still waiting on this initiative to pass.

With only 12 session days left, and overwhelming support from across the aisle and the governor’s office, I cannot imagine why this bill has not reached the legislature for a vote. This common-sense measure is way past due and cannot wait until next January for action. I will continue to push this measure to do what is right for the people of New York State.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley
R-Batavia