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Letters: Pensions after a conviction?

The State Capitol Building of New York is

The State Capitol Building of New York is shown in Albany on April 17, 2013. The parliamentary building was built between 1867 and 1899. Photo Credit: AP / Arno Burgi

One couldn't find a better example of why the public holds politicians in such disdain than your Aug. 6 article "Guilt doesn't end pensions" [News].

It's truly incredible that the state constitution protects people who have abused the public's trust, in some cases allowing them to receive their pensions while serving in prison.

Arthur M. Shatz, Oakland Gardens

Thirteen convicted New York officials together receive more than $600,000 annually.

Why would our legislators not pass a law whereby, if an elected official is convicted of a crime, he or she is not only forced to step down but also is no longer eligible to collect lucrative pensions and health care benefits? Might this not be an incentive to walk a straight line?

Tom Dantonio, Northport

Public servants are elected to do just that: Serve the public.

When they are found guilty of corruption and jailed, they should not only lose their salaries but also any perks and future monetary benefits.

I guess crime does pay!

Bruce M. Resch, East Meadow

This headline could have been written 65 years ago, during the term of Mayor Bill O'Dwyer in New York City. That was the first time I learned about the curious quirk in the pension law that allows a politician to collect his pension while in jail. O'Dwyer resigned his office after rumors of connections with organized-crime figures, but he was never convicted.

Two arguments were advanced justifying this arrangement. First, the politician contributed to his pension, so he is just getting back some of his own money. Second, his family should not be punished for his crime, and withholding his pension does just that.

Talk about privilege! It is no mistake why the law was never changed. Politicians protect themselves, even the corrupt ones.

Joseph D. Policano, East Hampton

Why are elected and appointed officeholders even receiving taxpayer-funded pensions in the first place? These offices were never meant to be filled for life.

Let these officeholders provide for their own retirements.

William J. Van Sickle, Brentwood

We generally vote for people we think we can trust. With all the benefits our elected officials get, they should be held accountable.

Their oath of office should also include that if you get caught in anything illegal, you will go to jail, and there will be no pension. No excuses.

Dennis Maier, Massapequa Park

I read that the prison worker upstate who allegedly helped two convicted murderers escape will still be eligible for her pension ["Guilty of Helping escape," News, July 29]!

She also should be forced to repay millions of dollars in salaries paid to law enforcement to hunt for these two men. When is the law going to change to prevent this from happening?

Michael Hare, Levittown


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