Local lawmakers react to Dean Skelos ruling

Dean Skelos, Adam Skelos

ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – Many lawmakers said there needs to be term limits for leaders and more people involved with budget talks.

A former advisor to the Moreland Commission said the pendulum of power always swings back to voters because they’re the ones who ultimately decide who works in this building.

It’s interesting to listen back to the words of Preet Bharara. He had said I’m going to disrupt the three men in a room”, said President of League of Women Voters Barbara Bartoletti.

And it’s now strike two. A jury found former Senate Leader Dean Skelos guilty of bribery, extortion, and conspiracy.

These are three words that Barbara Bartoletti said have been associated with New York’s most powerful politicians for too long.

“Albany has to stop being for sale to the highest bidder and right now Albany is still for sale to the highest bidder”, said Bartoletti.

But the convictions of two legislative leaders this year might be the catalysts for change.

Many lawmakers are calling for leadership term limits and pension reforms because right now both Silver and Skelos can still collect a pretty penny.

“If they are found guilty of a crime, breaking the law, those elected officials should not be eligible for pension programs after office”, said Senator George Amedore.

“These people in leadership positions have too much control over the budget and deals that are done and the governor really is the one that has enabled this system to continue”, said Assemblyman Brian Kolb.

Bartoletti agrees we cannot let the governor off the hook but she says changing the system in Albany isn’t necessarily up to lawmakers.

“You can’t let the public off the hook either the public needs to participate in their government, get out and vote”, said Bartoletti.

An attorney who used to work at the capitol reminds people that voting is a very powerful right.

“You have to vote the people out, you have to change the entire system”, said Attorney Mario Cometti.

The Independent Democratic Conference and the Assembly Republican Conference tell me they have repeatedly put forth an ethics reform package so it will be interesting to see what the governor includes in his 2016 budget next month.

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