Reinvent Albany strongly supports Governor Hochul’s proposal to create a new, independent state ethics commission.
We believe this new independent ethics commission is by far the most important reform the Governor can champion to restore New Yorkers’ faith in their state government and curb abuses of power and conflicts of interest.
Furthermore, we strongly support the Governor’s innovative proposal to make the new ethics commission truly independent by having it consist of a rotating board of five members made up of the 15 state-accredited law school deans or their designees.
The independent commission proposed by the Governor is vastly superior to the current, completely dysfunctional and totally politicized Joint Commission of Public Ethics (JCOPE).
We have spent months reviewing models for appointing independent ethics and redistricting commissions, and we believe Governor Hochul’s proposal is sensible and will work to serve the broader public interest of New Yorkers, instead of the political class.
Inevitably, the Governor’s proposal will be criticized for putting so much trust in law school deans and their designees as ethics commissioners. But until the Legislature produces a realistic approach for appointing an equally independent ethics commission, we are going to be working for the Governor’s law school dean plan.
While welcome, Governor Hochul’s proposals to institute term limits for statewide elected officials and ban most outside income for statewide elected officials are far less immediately important than an independent ethics commission. We hope the press and public join Reinvent Albany and other watchdog groups in keeping the Governor’s focus on this most powerful and fundamental reform.