Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head) today announced his support for a measure introduced by Governor Cuomo that would deny public officials their pension benefits if they’re convicted of a felony. Earlier this year, Montesano sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and Comptroller DiNapoli requesting support for Assembly bill 271 and also suggesting that an issue of this importance warrant consideration as a Program Bill. Similar to the governor’s measure, Montesano’s bill would target public officials convicted of felonies relating to the unlawful use of their position and deny them their pensions.
“I am glad Governor Cuomo is aggressively pursuing this issue, and I hope his legislation will end the blatant abuse of taxpayer money that is occurring in the Empire State,” said Montesano. “My view is simple, if you violate the oath you took when taking public office, you should not have the privilege of retiring on the taxpayer’s dime. I truly believe this issue defies the typical partisan boundaries as it is at the core of making meaningful ethics reform and restoring the public’s trust. I am glad that the governor has joined me in a call to deter criminal behavior as it relates to public office.”
Governor Cuomo’s bill, also known as “Hevesi's Law”, was introduced shortly after the imprisonment of the former New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. Like many, Mr. Hevesi was convicted of a felony related to the abuse of his office and, even after the conviction, he continued to receive a state pension.
“I resubmitted my bill this year as I felt strongly about this reform,” said Montesano. “I am heartened that Governor Cuomo has thrown his support behind this ethics reform measure and hope that it will end abuse of public office. Many more ethics reform measures are needed, but this is a step in the right direction and I am glad the Governor has joined me in this fight.”