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Moreland Commission report on government ethics only beginning, co-chair says

Met with inaction by the legislature to pass ethics reform, Governor Cuomo moved on to appointing a Moreland Commission to do the work.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Met with inaction by the legislature to pass ethics reform, Governor Cuomo moved on to appointing a Moreland Commission to do the work.

The co-chair says the commission found a pattern of unethical behavior where it takes money to get much of anything accomplished.

"If you're the chairperson of an influential committee, you get money, gobs of money from the industry that committee regulates," said Bill Fitzpatrick, Co-Chair of the Moreland Commission.

Fitzpatrick says the commission also uncovered things that appear to be criminal and many of those will likely be forwarded to the right agencies.

He says the commission has many recommendations; one of the biggest things in the report is reforming and enforcing election laws, something he says the state board of elections isn't doing now.

"We had testimony under oath from an investigator who said. ‘I went to them and begged them to give me something to work on and I got nothing,’ so why would you need more resources when the resources you have aren't being utilized at all,” Fitzpatrick asked. “The guy, very credible, said, ‘I spent most of my day on the computer playing solitaire.’”

Nothing can be done without action from the Legislature, but Fitzpatrick says he expects to see rank and file members pressuring the leadership - which has been resistant so far - to actually make some of these changes recommended in the report.

“Public service still matters to some people. It matters to me and it ought to be done in a way that's open and honest and ethical," Fitzpatrick said.

Even though their report is finished, Fitzpatrick says the public should expect to hear more from the Moreland Commission in the future.

Another recommendation from the commission is for public financing of statewide campaigns.

A forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Syracuse Metro Area regarding the Moreland Commission report will take place Monday, Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at SEIU headquarters located at 250 South Clinton St. in Syracuse.

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