Today, in response to a “golden parachute” severance package recently
negotiated at the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) with its current
executive director, Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced
that she is introducing the “Severance Pay Limitation Act” to put a limit on
these types of severance packages at authorities across New York State.

“Last week, Erie County Water Authority ratepayers were forced to sit idly
by as they saw news that their water service provider negotiated an
egregious severance package, known as a ‘golden parachute,’ with an at-will
appointee,” said Wallace. “As a ratepayer myself, I was disheartened by this
news. To protect ratepayer dollars going forward, I am introducing the
‘Severance Pay Limitation Act’ to put a limit on severance packages for
at-will appointees at authorities across New York State.”

The contract for the current ECWA executive director guarantees a severance
package estimated between $300,000 and $400,000 if the individual is let go
by the Authority when control of the entity changes.[1] This comes less than
two months after a rate hike for all ECWA customers took effect.[2]

“At a time when rates are going up, Water Authority customers expect that
those increased rates will go toward infrastructure and water quality
improvements,” said Wallace. “Instead, they’re going toward an appointee’s
severance package. That is wrong, and it represents government at its
worst.”

The Severance Pay Limitation Act would make amendments to the public
authorities law by defining at-will appointees, limiting the severance
package allowable for at-will appointees to no more than three months’ pay,
and ensuring that severance payments are not considered in calculating
retirement benefits.

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