Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head) recently introduced legislation that would eliminate pension benefits for any public officer, public employee or public school employee convicted of a felony related to abuse of office. These mandated benefits are paid for out of the state’s common retirement system, a $129 billion taxpayer-financed pension fund administered by the New York State comptroller.
Montesano’s bill would save taxpayers money, as well as increase the penalties for committing a felony while holding public office by eliminating benefits including, but not limited to, salary and pension. If the measure passes the Legislature, it will be the first pension reform legislation of its kind in New York State to target convicted felons.
“When it comes to prosecuting its public officials and public employees convicted of felonies, New York has turned into a state of shame,” said Montesano. “Too often, these individuals have continued to receive publicly subsidized pension payments despite using their power for private gain. My bill would put a stop to this egregious practice, protect taxpayers, and punish those who would abuse the public’s trust. Enough is enough. I encourage my Assembly colleagues to pass this important legislation immediately and use tax dollars for the only appropriate retirement plan these lawbreaking officials deserve: a prison term.”