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Proposed state amendment focuses on public corruption

When former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi was serving his jail time for public corruption, he was receiving $166,000 a year in pension checks. A local State Senator wants to put a stop to the practice.  Hevesi is just one of many state officials who has spent time in prison, but the State Constitution guarantees the continued flow of pension benefits.

"Alan Hevesi is a criminal and he violated the public trust. His pension needs to be revoked," said Buffalo State Senator Tim Kennedy.

"Each year, the state doles out over half a million dollars for corrupt Albany politicians' pensions. I' m pushing for legislation to take away disgraced lawmaker pensions. In the last decade, there's been dozens of Albany politicians who're resigned or been removed from office."

Kennedy says he has started the complicated process for amending the State Constitution to make it clear pensions end at a conviction. That requires approval by two separately elected State Legislatures, followed by approval by a  public referendum.

A federal prosecutor in Manhattan is taking his own approach. In the case of federal public corruption convictions, he says he will move to seize pensions as forfeiture.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.