Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-C-I-Lewiston, has announced his support for the Public Officers Accountability Act of 2013, which was introduced in the Assembly Tuesday by Minority Leader Brian Kolb. This bill, Ceretto said, is a comprehensive package of measures that will keep public officers accountable to the public they serve and prevent future corruption in Albany.
"I am proud to support this comprehensive package of legislation to put an end to the corruption that has defined Albany for so long. This bill contains many common-sense proposals that we should all be able to agree on," Ceretto said. "Since the speaker has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to reform government himself, we must take the initiative ourselves to get actual reforms and earn back the trust of the public."
The Public Officers Accountability Act of 2013 contains proposals to:
Ban individuals convicted of felonies related to official duties from future public employment, lobbying activity or bidding on state contracts;
Replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics with a new commission on official conduct - a five-member panel made up of individuals appointed by State Court of Appeals jurists charged with oversight and investigation of public corruption matters;
Implement eight-year term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs;
Institute member-item reforms that require every appropriation to be named and itemized in the state budget; require the governor or legislator requesting an appropriation to notify the attorney general that no conflict of interest exists; and prohibit any appropriation when a conflict of interest exists - including appropriations to organizations that employ or compensate the governor, a legislator, a family member, or any person sharing the home of the governor or legislator;
Create new crimes and increase penalties for those who act against the public trust or fail to report corruption;
Limit the use of campaign funds to only campaign activities, prohibiting the use of funds for criminal defenses, salary payments to staff or family, vehicle purchases or leases and several other activities; and
Require that the campaign funds of public officials convicted of a felony are returned to donors or turned over to charity.
"During my time in the Assembly, we have done some very good things for the people of New York. However, good is not good enough. I cannot sit idly by as corrupt public officials abuse their power and erode the people's trust in their government," Ceretto said. "I hope to work with my Assembly colleagues on both sides of the aisle, such as the courageous Mickey Kearns, to get these common-sense good government reforms passed."