Part-time effort cannot fix Albany ills

Assembly Member Andy Goodell is reintroducing a bill he believes clamps down on corruption in state government. His bill, like all other bills he fails to get out of Committee, was rejected in 2015. It will be rejected again.

Corruption in state government hurts us all. Neither party is exempt. The blame game must stop and effective measures put in place. Voters are tired of career politicians saying it’s the other party’s fault. Voters are sick of hearing this from career politicians who are known for failing to recognize conflicts of interest or worse in which they themselves engage. It is an insult to voters to say one thing and do another and act like voters don’t have the intelligence to recognize when they’re being played.

Many good legislators want the comptroller’s office to look at the contracts state government finalizes with contractors and others before they’re signed. It’s a simple matter of greater transparency linked to checks and balances that’s not currently in place.

Who is part-time Andy to call out corruption? He’s one of four out of 150 Assembly Members who voted against a very generous cap of $70,000 on outside earned income for members of the Assembly. Most members have zero outside income. They work this technically part-time job full time. Not part-time Andy, who’s an active partner in his law firm. For this cap to overwhelmingly pass meant it received almost full Republican support along with the support of Democrats. The cap is meant to curtail conflicts of interest Members might get themselves into when they earn money from non-legislative sources. If anyone should know about conflicts of interest that would be part-time Andy.

I would prefer the cap limited to $20,000 as it is for members of Congress. In parts of New York it’s harder to live on the salary awarded to legislators than it is in other parts of the state where the salary is generous, as it is in Chautauqua County. Maybe there’s an argument for $70,000 but probably not. Part-time Andy claims $20,000 to $50,000 in outside earned income.

I would also like to see far more detailed financial disclosure forms and the requirement that members of the Assembly remove themselves from positions they hold in organizations or groups where they have fiduciary, financial, responsibility. This would include sitting on boards of directors, partnerships, say, in a law firm, etc. Again, this is required to hold a seat in Congress.

Cleaning up corruption starts at home. It starts with members of the Assembly, the legislative chamber that’s supposed to represent people from all walks of life, making sure their own house is in order.

Judy Einach is candidate for the 150th Assembly seat and a Westfield resident.

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