Introduces Bill to Strip Pension Benefits From Convicted Public Officials
Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester) has announced that he introduced legislation that would take away pension benefits from any state or local public official convicted of a felony where the public’s trust has been violated (A.7173). He added that in the past seven years alone, New York State has seen 32 state-level officials caught up in corruption cases. This has led to a breakdown in public trust and millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on unethical ex-officials’ pensions.
“If you have betrayed the public’s trust, you have no right to continue benefiting from hardworking taxpayers’ money,” Assemblyman Buchwald said. “People are tired of corrupt officials taking advantage of the system. This legislation takes a step toward putting integrity and trust back into our state government.”Buchwald’s bill is an amendment to New York State’s constitution.
That means in order to become effective, the bill must be approved by the current Legislature and then be passed again in two years, by a newly elected Legislature. It would then go before the public for a vote.
By amending the constitution, Buchwald’s bill would go a step further to strengthen the current law, which only strips pension benefits of convicted officials first elected after the law was passed in 2011. Buchwald’s bill, which is more encompassing, would apply to any elected official, regardless of when he or she first held office.
“I am confident that if this constitutional change were put before the voters it would receive overwhelming support.” Assemblyman Buchwald said. “As public servants, we took an oath swearing to uphold the law and to do so faithfully and honestly. I promised Westchester families that I wouldn’t stand for this type of behavior, and now, more than ever, we need to act.”