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Thread: Ethics Investigator Gets Pay Raise During Spitzer Probe

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    Ethics Investigator Gets Pay Raise During Spitzer Probe

    The New York state ethics investigator probing the Spitzer administration is making $15,000 more after four months in state service. Meanwhile the Senate Energy Committee chairman has postponed his resignation and will remain in the Legislature after accepting a job with an energy lobbyist.

    Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said Wednesday that the raise for Public Integrity Commission Executive Director Herbert Teitelbaum to $155,000 is troubling. The commission is investigating whether top Spitzer aides misused state police to compile records of Bruno's use of state aircraft.

    "I never dreamt that you would have an executive director getting a $15,000 raise in the middle of an investigation," Bruno told reporters Wednesday. "The people have a right to know this stuff."

    But the Public Integrity Commission and Spitzer administration say Teitelbaum didn't get a raise. Instead, they say his new salary reflects the change from executive director of the state Ethics Commission to executive director of the state Public Integrity Commission, which is a merger of the former ethics and lobbying commissions.

    That's a savings of more than $100,000 from the two previous positions, said Public Integrity Commission spokesman Walter Ayres. The lobbying commission merged with the former state Ethics Commission in October under a government reform law passed in April.

    "We did not seek the governor's approval on this and we did not seek the governor's input," said Ayres, spokesman for the Public Integrity Commission, the majority of whose members are appointed by Spitzer.

    Teitelbaum's new salary was first reported Monday by the New York Post.

    In the Legislature, Senate Energy Committee Chairman James Wright has reportedly decided to briefly extend his stay in office after already accepting a job with an energy lobbying firm. The Republican from Watertown will step down Jan. 7, according to The Post-Standard of Syracuse.

    Wright announced his resignation Dec. 12, effective Dec. 31, so he could work for Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations, a national lobbying and consulting firm where Wright will continue to work on energy issues.

    Wright's resignation will leave Republicans with a one-seat majority in the 62-seat Senate. Delaying his resignation means Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer wouldn't be able to set a special election to fill the seat on the state's presidential primary day, Feb. 5.

    Although Wright's district is strongly Republican, the presidential primary will bring out many Democratic and independent voters. Republicans outnumber Democrats 78,454 to 46,824 in Wright's 48th Senate District, which includes all of Jefferson and Oswego counties and part of St. Lawrence County. Independent voters and those enrolled in other parties total 45,784 voters.

    But having a sitting lawmaker pledged to joining a lobbying firm on the topic for which he holds sway in Albany doesn't violate the ethics rules the Legislature created itself, said the committee's co-chairman, Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Cahill of Kingston.

    Wright will be barred from directly or indirectly lobbying the state Legislature for two years from the date his resignation is effective, Cahill said.

    Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters says $15,000 won't likely influence a respected and successful attorney like Teitelbaum. But she said Wright's rescheduled resignation for political consideration, although legal, shows the weakness of Albany's ethics laws.

    "Isn't everything legal in New York?" she said. "Could they do anything illegal in terms of politics in this state?"

    Wright didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

    AP

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    Member run4it's Avatar
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    So a guy takes on double the work load, saving the state over $100k, and you're bitching that he got a $15k raise?

    Again...bitching by habit.
    But your being a dick
    ~Wnyresident

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    Quote Originally Posted by run4it
    So a guy takes on double the work load, saving the state over $100k, and you're bitching that he got a $15k raise?

    Again...bitching by habit.
    No, I think the point of the article in the paper was that this guy is in charge of an ethics probe with the Governor and he will see an increase in salary of $15,000. Now, I dont believe this is a story. I think the media is making this into a big deal. Is there an appearance of impropriety? Maybe, but it is a big stretch.

    No one is complaining about saving money. If anything it is a poorly written article that throws out accusations and makes a big headline to draw readers but actually amounts to nothing really.

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