Amsterdam News Staff

Newly elected New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is attempting to live up to his promise of a cleaning up Albany. The Bronx-based assemblyman announced the formation of a “bipartisan committee” to conduct a national search for an executive director to take the reins of the new Office of Ethics and Compliance.

The six members appointed to the committee include Assemblymen Todd Kaminsky, William Magnarelli and Philip Ramos and Assemblywomen Janet Duprey, Shelley Mayer and Michele Titus. All six have experience practicing ethics and law.

Heastie, in a statement, spoke on the need to redirect Albany’s priorities.

“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.”

According to Heastie’s office, candidates will be solicited from a variety of sources, and the Assembly will work with government advocacy groups for advice and recommendations. Committee appointees thanked Heastie for the opportunity.

“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,” said Kaminsky in a statement. “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.”

“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,” said Duprey. “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.”

“I am firmly committed to ensuring that the New York 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.”