NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — With the recent corruption convictions of several top lawmakers in New York State, the New York City Council is considering whether to turn some legislative positions into full-time jobs, without outside compensation.
“Today legislators are expected to be on top of issues instantly and provide a lot of services to their communities,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa. “So I think the trend correctly is towards full-time.”
In a WNYC radio interview, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the fraud and extortion convictions of ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Leader Dean Skelos also show the Legislature has done a poor job of self-policing.
In late November, Silver was found guilty on all counts in his federal trial on charges of bribery, extortion and money laundering. The longtime powerful Democrat was arrested in January on charges he accepted nearly $5 million in kickbacks and bribes.
Skelos was convicted of using his influence to get payments and no-show jobs for his son, Adam, 33.
Both lost their legislative seats with the convictions.
“Everyone has their part to play in making sure we have honest and clean government,” Bharara said. “The politicians themselves have a role in self-policing. Any institution can have bad apples in them that need to be prosecuted whether it’s on Wall Street, in banks or anywhere else. But the first line of defense against bad conduct is the institution itself.”
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said those who think the position is a part-time job are fooling themselves, but also opposes a proposed 71 percent pay hike for council members. New York City Council member salaries currently stand at arounf $112,000 a year.
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