Today, in response to a “golden parachute” severance package recently negotiated at the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) with its current executive director, Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that she is introducing the “Severance Pay Limitation Act” to put a limit on these types of severance packages at authorities across New York State.
“Last week, Erie County Water Authority ratepayers were forced to sit idly by as they saw news that their water service provider negotiated an egregious severance package, known as a ‘golden parachute,’ with an at-will appointee,” said Wallace. “As a ratepayer myself, I was disheartened by this news. To protect ratepayer dollars going forward, I am introducing the ‘Severance Pay Limitation Act’ to put a limit on severance packages for at-will appointees at authorities across New York State.”
The contract for the current ECWA executive director guarantees a severance package estimated between $300,000 and $400,000 if the individual is let go by the Authority when control of the entity changes.1 This comes less than two months after a rate hike for all ECWA customers took effect.2
“At a time when rates are going up, Water Authority customers expect that those increased rates will go toward infrastructure and water quality improvements,” said Wallace. “Instead, they’re going toward an appointee’s severance package. That is wrong, and it represents government at its worst.”
The Severance Pay Limitation Act would make amendments to the public authorities law by defining at-will appointees, limiting the severance package allowable for at-will appointees to no more than three months’ pay, and ensuring that severance payments are not considered in calculating retirement benefits.