Ending pensions for corrupt politicians

Ted O'Brien

March 06, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senator Ted O'Brien and fellow legislators have called for a change to the state constitution that would allow pensions to be stripped from public officials who commit felonies and violate the public trust.

"The taxpayers of this state deserve to know that their money is not funding the retirements of former elected officials who have been convicted of felonies in betrayal of the public's trust," said Senator O'Brien.  "I am honored to join my colleagues in support of this change. This is a necessary step if we are to continue to restore accountability, transparency and the confidence of our citizens in New York State government."

Over 60 legislators have co-sponsored the measure. Under the current New York State Constitution, pensions are protected even in cases of morally egregious behavior -- even if it results in a felony conviction.  Because this legislation involves a constitutional amendment, it needs to be passed twice by the full legislature with an intervening election and approved by the voters of the state in a referendum.

In 2011, new laws were passed allowing pensions to be stripped from corrupt officials, but those rules only apply to those first elected to public office after that law's passage.

For up-to-date information on the bill, visit http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S1133-2013.


Image: Senator O'Brien stands with Assemblyman David Buchwald of White Plains, who is sponsoring the bill in his house, at an Albany press conference touting the bill on March 5, 2014.

Senator O’Brien represents the 55th district in the Senate, which is made up of the eastern half of Monroe County and the western half of Ontario County, including much of the city of Rochester.

Media contact:

Thomas J. Morrisey
Communications Director
office:   (585) 218-0034
e-mail:  tjmorris@nysenate.gov