Public Must Be Involved To Fight Corruption

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The latest wave of indictments against our County Executive, his wife and the Supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay tells us once again and again and again, that our political process, from top to bottom, is riddled with corruption. The days of electing public servants with legitimate desires to help others especially the poor and disadvantaged, are over. Now we have officials who masquerade as caring public servants while their main objective is to enrich themselves. This is our history as a nation, affecting all political parties so much so that they should be abolished. So should the super PACs (political action committees) be abolished together with massive campaign contributions that more than an appearance of impropriety, inherently demonstrate quid pro quo. This is obvious to all except our elected officials who hide behind the laws which they have created to protect themselves from scrutiny.

The American public is sick of it. Merely voting somebody out of office does not do the trick since they are replaced by another corrupt politician. The system itself must change. We must rise up against it. It is time for another revolution, not a violent one as in 1776, but one where each of us must speak out.

An illustration of this inherent corruption are the state judicial elections now upon us. Bar Associations and the political parties tell us nothing about the candidates who are not chosen on the basis of merit. The Judicial Conduct Commission lacks the funding to do in depth investigations of these candidates as well as the politics involving their nominations and the funding of their campaigns. The Commission focuses on their conduct while in office but not much on how they got there. Judges also escape public censure by retiring. Once probable cause is established, Judicial Conduct Commission hearings should be open to the public.

All counties should have Civilian Complaint Review Boards to review complaints against the police. Similarly all counties should have an ombudsman (person) appointed by the County Legislature to a 10 year term with subpoena and investigating powers, acting as a consumer advocate.

The public must be more engaged in the political process. Taxpayers are oppressed but we are not speaking loudly enough. We cannot trust our elected officials to change or to speak for us. We must do it ourselves. The time is now.

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Thomas F. Liotti is an attorney in Garden City and Village Justice in Westbury. He is also an adjunct professor of litigation in the legal studies department at Nassau Community College.

1 COMMENT

  1. In Nassau County when a citizen speaks out against corruption they are retaliated against. Nassau County now has 3 law suits for retaliation which include : 1. Sanitation workers 2. Hempstead Shelter employees and 3. Fire Fighter. These law suits which usually result in settlements cost tax payers money. Citizens have no alternative or no place to turn except hiring an attorney.

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