June 6, 2011
STATEMENT OF STATE BAR PRESIDENT VINCENT E. DOYLE III ON AGREEMENT ON GOVERNMENT ETHICS MEASURE
“The New York State Bar Association today applauds the agreement reached by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to enact comprehensive government ethics reform.
“By enhancing government transparency and accountability, this measure will go a long way toward restoring public trust in government.
“We are pleased that the proposed legislation specifically addresses a priority identified by the State Bar Association: enhanced disclosure by legislators and other public officials of outside income from sources having business with the state.
“Citizens are entitled to know if their public officials have outside business interests that might conflict with the public interest.
“We also are pleased that the bill addresses another concern raised in our January 2011 report: the need for a joint ethics commission to oversee employees of both state agencies and the Legislature, thereby improving the current oversight structure.
"Government ethics reform is a priority of the State Bar Association. In 2009, then-President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP) created a special committee to develop principles that should underlie any ethics legislation.
“In June 2010, his successor, Stephen Younger (Patterson
Belknap Webb & Tyler, LLP), created the Task Force on Government
Ethics to make specific recommendations. Chaired by Patricia Salkin,
director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, and Michael
Garcia, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, its
comprehensive report was approved by the Association in January. During
the 2011 legislative session, President Younger led the Association's
efforts in advocating for ethics reform.