“It's not too late to rein in government corruption,” an essay published by Albany’s Times-Union today and co-authored by Professor of Government and Law Frank Anechiarico, precedes the Finding Our Way: Rebuilding Ethics in New York State conference which he is co-hosting this Wednesday in Albany and his interview on the Capitol Pressroom (locally WRVO 91.9 FM) Tuesday at 8 p.m. about the conference.
Co-authored by University of Albany Professor Thomas Bass, the April 29 essay points to past examples of political corruption, indictments, and convictions that have led to major economic debacles in New York State as well as viable solutions to avoid these kinds of problems in the future. “Pay-to-play contracting may have worked back in the days of Erastus Corning and Boss Tweed, but now it's costing us the kind of investment New York needs,” the co-authors wrote.
In addressing the state’s 2020 budget, they warned, “How New York plans to spend the $175 billion in the 2020 state budget highlights how cynical our leaders have become about public integrity and democracy. The Legislature and citizens had ten weeks to read, debate, revise, and pass a gigantic spending package assembled, independently, by the executive branch. The goodies in this package will be doled out by the same people who put it together with so little oversight.”
Co-hosted by the Times-Union, Finding Our Way: Rebuilding Ethics in New York State, a one-day conference, will take place at the publication’s Hearst Media Center. Presenters include Times Union Editor Rex Smith; Richard Briffault, chair of the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board; Daniel Feldman, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former member of the New York State Assembly; Ronald Goldstock, of counsel with Pugh, Jones and Johnson and former director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force; Richard T. Faughnan, managing director of Kroll and former chief of the public integrity section when he was an assistant U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York; Steven A. Pasichow, deputy inspector general/director of investigations with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and Jennifer Rodgers, lecturer-in-law at Columbia Law School, former executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School and frequent CNN legal analyst; among others.
“We want the public to demand and legislators to enact an agenda that improves the ethical climate in the state by eliminating conflicts of interest evident among policy makers, that guarantees fairness and seeks lower cost in public procurement, and that opens the state budget process to a much wider variety of stakeholders and citizens,” said Anechiarico in discussing the ultimate goal organizers hope to achieve via this conference.
Political attendees include N.Y. State Senators Neil Breslin, Leroy Comrie, and Jim Tedesco, Albany District Attorney David Soares, and Zephyr Teachout, Fordham law professor and former candidate for New York attorney general.