An alarming snapshot of Albany’s corruption issue was on full display earlier this month, in a manner that almost defied belief. At the end of a day’s proceedings in his corruption trial, one of Gov. Cuomo’s top aides, Joe Percoco, left the Manhattan courtroom just as former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver walked into the same venue for a status hearing on his own, unrelated corruption trial.
Corruption is a scourge on our democracy, and left unchecked it has the power to destroy the fabric of good policymaking. As the Percoco trial drags on, and other officials like former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros face a barrage of charges, New Yorkers’ trust in their representatives continues to be badly damaged. Despite years of talk, press conferences and assurances, virtually nothing has been done to address rampant corruption in New York.
Public officials have a sworn duty to act in the best interest of those they represent. When they ignore their duty for personal gain, the system falls apart at the seams. Good policy requires the public’s trust, and New Yorkers have endured far too many corrupt politicians taking their hard-earned money and using it for selfish, personal gain. As we prepare for the rest of the 2018 Legislative Session, we must continue to push for meaningful reform.
PUBLIC OFFICERS ACCOUNTABILITY ACT WOULD CURB ABUSES OF POWER
The Assembly Minority Conference has fought to reform Albany for years, with bill packages and proposals that strike at the heart of abuse. Some provisions we have fought for, especially our Public Officers Accountability Act of 2017 (A.5864), would alleviate the egregious and unnecessary concentration of power that created Albany’s toxic environment. We have more measure to come, and will continue to push for:
term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs;
creating an independent ethics panel to replace the Joint Commission on
prohibiting conflicts of interest in state appropriations; and
greater, independent oversight and review of New York’s economic
development programs and discretionary spending.
There are plenty of policy challenges facing our state, and the public must be able to count on their elected officials. New Yorkers didn’t elect their representative to get rich at their expense or to create a culture of self-dealing that compromises the institution of government. The people put legislators in office to create a better New York. With corruption trials and arrests piling up, it is unfathomable that we have yet to fix this problem, and I, along with the rest of the Assembly Minority Conference, will continue to fight for meaningful ethics reform.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.