Ballot Question 2 - Pensions of Officials Convicted of Felonies
The proposed amendment to section 7 of Article 2 of the State Constitution would allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer’s existing duties. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
New York’s Constitution now provides that the benefits of a public pension or retirement system cannot be reduced or impaired. The purpose of the proposed amendment is to allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer’s existing duties.
A court could determine, after notice to the public officer and a hearing, if a public officer convicted of such a felony would lose part or all of the pension. In reaching this determination, the court must consider factors including the seriousness of the public officer’s crime, the proportionality of a reduction or revocation to the crime, whether forfeiture would result in undue hardship or other inequity to dependent children, spouse, or other dependents, and any other factors provided by the Legislature. The Legislature must enact law that puts this proposal into effect, taking into account principles of fairness.
The proposed amendment would define “public officer” to mean the following:
An official filling an elected office within New York;
A person holding an office that is filled by appointment by the New York Governor, whether or
not that appointment has to be confirmed by the Senate;
A county, city, town, or village administrator, manager or equivalent position;
The head of any state or local government department, division, board, commission, bureau, public benefit corporation, or public authority in New York who is vested with authority, direction, and control over that entity;
The chief fiscal officer or treasurer of a municipal corporation or political subdivision in New York;
A judge or justice of the Unified Court System; and
A legislative, executive, or judicial employee who directly assists in the formulation of legislation, rules, regulations, policy, or judicial decision-making and who is designated by law as a policy-maker.
If approved, the amendment will apply only to crimes committed on or after January 1, 2018.