For decades, New York politicians have treated the privilege of public service as a license to enrich themselves and their cronies. The lack of ethics and the culture of corruption have become a sad hallmark of government in New York.
By contrast, Putnam County has been relatively fortunate to have some great public servants. We’ve built on their hard work and made important improvements to advance our county even further. As your County Executive, I continue to support:
- A ban on taxpayer funded lobbying
- Enactment of a Taxpayer Transparency Act*, self mandating live streaming of public government meetings and the creation of a budget transparency website
- Freeze pay raises for politicians – including the county executive*
- Reinforce term limits by closing existing loopholes and providing consistency for elected posts.
On the state level, as your former Assemblyman, I delivered on passing reform and:
- Helped pass ethics reform to help strip taxpayer funded pensions from corrupt politicians (A1749, 2017)
- Voted in favor of campaign finance reform that would close the LLC loophole (Chap. 407, 2019).
- Spoke up against Andrew Cuomo’s Corrupt COVID-19 nursing home cover-up when few others, including Republican officials, would. Andrew Cuomo did not resign willingly, he left office because a few brave individuals had the courage to stand up and speak out early on. I was one of them.
Most importantly, as I always have, I’ll honor my obligation to be honest about what I do and why I do it.
* To date, the Legislature has failed to act on the Taxpayer Transparency Act proposal introduced at the March 2023 State of the County, but did approve funding for a budget transparency website (a key part of the proposed legislation) in the 2024 budget.
* Opposed pay raises for all politicians in first year. The Legislature submitted pay raises for themselves prior to budget meetings which shielded their salary adjustments from an executive veto. Byrne vetoed all other pay raises for politicians that had been added by the Legislature. The Legislature overrode Byrne’s veto with the minimum 6 votes required, but Byrne still honored his commitment and did not take a raise in pay in his first budget (2024 Budget).