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Letter: Montesano’s Letter to Gov. Cuomo, Comptroller DiNapoli

I write you in regards to an urgent matter that requires the immediate attention of your office. In a time of fiscal crisis, New York must find ways to reduce spending wherever possible. Perhaps no more egregious waste can be found on an annual basis than the payment of retirement benefits to public employees that have betrayed the public trust and been convicted of felony charges related to the abuse of their position.

Last year, I was the primary sponsor of Assembly Bill 10581, which sought to end such blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars. A number of my colleagues in the Assembly Minority joined me in support of this legislation, which was being held for further consideration in the Committee on Governmental Operations at the conclusion of the 2010 Legislative Session.  I have resubmitted this bill for the 2011 Legislative Session and the bill, now Assembly Bill 00271, once again carries the support of many members of the Assembly Minority.

An issue of this gravity warrants consideration as a Program Bill. It will not only show a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner, it will send the message if you unlawfully use your position as a New York State employee for personal benefit, you forfeit your right to collect retirement benefits on the taxpayers’ dime.

This issue is at the root of closing New York’s ever-growing budget deficit, and defies all boundaries of partisan politics. Together, we can do the right thing for the people of New York by doing everything in your power to see that this vital legislation is immediately passed into law at the beginning of the 2011 Legislative Session.  I look forward to working together on meaningful reform.

Michael Montesano
Assemblyman, 15th District