If you like being paid for literally no work, the New York State Legislature could be your dream job.  In the latest scandal to hit the Empire State, bonus payments, colloquially called Lulus, for holding coveted leadership positions allegedly were being paid to members who did not hold said leadership positions.  

It was reported that tens of thousands of dollars have been paid to numerous Senators over the years on this premise. Apparently, falsified statements were sent to the state Comptroller’s office asserting that certain members of the Legislature were heads of various committees; though they certainly were not. Here’s the problem though, the head of each committee is very public information; a 10 second Google search will lead you straight to this information on the New York assembly website.  Yet somehow, the requests were approved, and the payments were made.

Alarmingly, it appears that this practice was common based on Senator Diane Savino’s following statement:

“There seems to be an obsession with something that has in fact been a legislative practice for decades,” said Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island, who received $18,000 for a position that another senator filled, adding in a recent interview that she was “mystified” by the controversy.”

The obsession probably has something to do with Senators receiving compensation for jobs they are not doing, but that is simply my opinion. It may also be wise for Savino to not broadcast the fact that the practice has been ongoing for decades given that it at best appears to be highly unethical and at worst fraudulent.  And a last piece of unsolicited advice, just because something has been standard practice for an extended period of time, that in no way means it was the correct practice.

Whether the payments were legal or not will be up to the lawyers and courts to decide, but the initial impression makes it seem like things are not on the up and up in Albany.

{Via The New York Times}

Title Image “The Empire State Building” by SimonPix is licensed under CC BY 2.0