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Proposal to ban payouts after personal misconduct

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Allegations of personal misconduct by former Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger have sparked a new proposal that would ban payouts to government appointees convicted of criminal charges.

Last year, Dirschberger was accused of raping a coworker at a conference in Albany. Since resigning, he has received over $10,000 for unused time off work.

The case is still under investigation, but it begs the question: Will Dirschberger be allowed to keep his payout if proven guilty? WBFO spoke with 4th District Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick.

“Our thrust is that in the future, we don’t have to answer that question," Hardwick said. "That it’ll be pretty black and white that someone accused of workplace misconduct, and is found guilty of workplace misconduct, won’t be able to get the big cash out.”

That is why legislators are pushing for this new proposal. Organized by members of the Erie County Legislature Minority Caucus, the bill would prohibit payments to employees accused of personal misconduct, until all charges are cleared.

Hardwick said the proposal calls for changes to current policy.

“We have this proposal going in to get the ball rolling," he said. "We would need the County Executive, the County Attorney, to send us some language to make some changes to county policy to permit us to withhold payments in the future to such individuals.”

Hardwick said payments have been withheld under similar circumstances in the past. His hopes are that the proposal will protect tax payers, should there be more incidents like this in the future.

“Its genesis is the Dirschberger case. It was pretty dramatic, pretty severe, and $10,000 or so is a lot of money that the tax payers are going to have to fork over, or already have," Hardwick said, "and we want to guard against this sort of thing in the future.”

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