February 7, 2015

Speaker Heastie Appoints Bipartisan Search Committee for Executive Director of New Assembly Office of Ethics and Compliance

Following up on his commitment to double down on efforts to strengthen ethics in the State Assembly, Speaker Carl E. Heastie today announced the formation of a bi-partisan committee to conduct a national search for an executive director to lead new Office of Ethics and Compliance.

"The door is wide open for real change in the State Assembly to make this institution more open, transparent and accountable to the citizens of this State," said Heastie. "In order to accomplish this, I have appointed a diverse group of members from this body to conduct a comprehensive search to identify national experts in the area of ethics and governance. Residents of this great state rightly expect a government that is honest and beyond reproach and this new office will work to ensure that their elected representatives are living up to the highest ethical standards."

Speaker Heastie said the search committee will be comprised of the following six members who have extensive experience in the practice of law and ethics:

The search committee will recommend to Speaker Heastie a list of candidates who have unparalleled experience in ethics compliance for consideration to lead the new office. Candidates will be solicited from a wide variety of sources and the Assembly will be working with government advocacy groups for advice and recommendations.

The Speaker will select a director from the final list.

Assemblymember Todd Kaminsky said "I thank Speaker Heastie for appointing me to this bipartisan search committee. The director of the Assembly’s new office of Ethics and Guidance will serve in an important role for lawmakers as we seek to renew the public's faith in its government. As a former Assistant United States Attorney who investigated and prosecuted corruption, I am committed to putting my experience to work for New Yorkers and my colleagues in order to improve our legislature and restore the public's trust."

Assemblymember William Magnarelli said “The vast majority of the men and women with whom I have served in the Assembly are ethical stewards of the public trust, but the reality is that in a few cases that trust is misplaced. I am committed to working with Speaker Heastie and with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move the People’s house out from under the dark shadows that envelop us and into the bright light that public service was always meant to be. I am proud to be a member of this search committee and grateful to the Speaker for putting his faith in us.”

Assemblymember Janet Duprey said “I applaud the decision by Speaker Heastie to establish a bipartisan search committee and I appreciate that he has appointed me to serve on it. Being elected to represent the interests and concerns of the citizens of my Assembly District has always been, to me, both a privilege and a sacred duty. Sadly, too many of my colleagues have fallen prey to the temptations that always accompany authority. I look forward to working with my colleagues to establish an independent office led by a recognized expert in ethical compliance to help the Assembly restore the people’s faith in the People’s House.”

Assemblymember Shelley Mayer said “We are in the midst of tumultuous times for government at every level. The confidence of voters in their elected officials has been shaken. It is more important than ever that we, as a representative body, do everything in our power to restore the confidence of voters across this state. The creation of the bipartisan Office of Ethics and Compliance is the first of many steps that we will be taking to that end. With every opportunity for change comes great responsibility and I look forward to embracing that mission alongside Speaker Heastie and my colleagues.”

Assemblymember Phil Ramos said “As a former law enforcement officer, I know firsthand how important it is to have the trust of the people you serve. We are chosen by our constituents to represent their needs and their voices here in state government and I know that they are looking to us now, more than ever, to prove that we are here to serve our communities, not ourselves. I am proud to join our new leader, Speaker Heastie, as we take the first steps in a new direction toward an honorable and dignified future for our state.”

Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus said “I am encouraged by Speaker Heastie’s vision for ethics reform and I believe that with the creation of this new Office of Ethics and Compliance we will prove to New Yorkers that we are serious about our commitments to the people of this great state. It is an honor to be chosen for this bipartisan search committee and I want to assure voters, not just in my district but all across the state, that the Assembly has turned the page and is looking forward to a renewed partnership with them as we move government into an age of accountability and integrity.“

"I am firmly committed to ensuring that the New York State Assembly lives up to the highest ethical standards,” said Heastie. “I am proud to serve my constituents in the State Assembly and I want citizens everywhere to be equally proud of our government. That is why the Office of Ethics and Compliance will be critically important to ensuring that we can meet these standards."