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Is Public Service a Part-Time Job?
August 6th, 2008

Lawmakers often work long hours talking to constituents in the neighborhood, attending community events, and campaigning for their next election. But for members of the State Legislature and City Council, public service is technically part-time work. And many lawmakers have second jobs.

Today, the New York Times reports that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a trial lawyer in his free-time, has lent at least $50,000 to help finance law firms that specialize in personal injury lawsuits. The issue, the article states, is whether an outside job creates a “substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest” or “raise suspicion among the public.” Silver maintains that his private sector work does neither.

In an effort to help lower public suspicion, State Senator Martin Connor has introduced a bill that would give a $52,000 bonus to lawmakers who agree to serve full-time and drop outside sources of income. Daniel Squadron, his opponent in a Democratic Primary, isn’t impressed. And a New York Sun article questions if Connor’s bill is a way to get Governor David Paterson to approve a pay raise at a time when the state budget is unstable.

Members of the State Legislature, who earn a base salary of $79,500, havent had a raise in a decade. Members of the New York City Council, who earn a base salary of $112,000 a year, voted themselves a pay raise in 2006, when the economy was good.

By on August 6, 2008, 3:47 pm
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