Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 3, 2013

GOP senator who OK'd New York's gay marriage given $90K job by Cuomo

Niagara Gazette — ALBANY — Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has given a former Republican senator who was a key to the legalization of gay marriage a $90,000-a-year job in a move a religious conservative group called payback for the critical vote.

"The moral of this story is that no matter what, Governor Cuomo will protect his own," said the Rev. Jason McGuire, of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.

McGuire's group had strongly opposed the landmark 2011 measure, which narrowly passed in the Senate, and unsuccessfully sued to try to strike it down.

Good-government groups say the job given to former Sen. James Alesi illustrates how in politics in Albany and elsewhere those in power wield patronage jobs carrying salaries and pensions funded by taxpayers.

"It's a fundamental problem with state government, the use of government positions to reward political allies," said Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "But that happens everywhere. And in this particular case, it's someone who actually knows something about government and the business world."

Alesi was hired Aug. 14 to the board that hears appeals of unemployment insurance claims to a term that runs through 2017. There was no announcement from the Cuomo administration, which wouldn't say if others were considered or interviewed for the job. Alesi couldn't be reached by telephone for comment Tuesday.

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi praised Alesi's qualifications for the job, which he said was open since 2011.

"As a longtime small business owner and the former chairman of the Senate Economic Development and Commerce Committee, former Senator Alesi is eminently qualified for this position," Azzopardi said. "He brings a real world perspective and serious policy experience to the job."

Alesi spent 16 years in the state Senate and ran a laundry business through much of western New York. His most recent assignments were on the Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee and the Energy and Telecommunications Committee. He also served on the finance, higher education, investigations and labor committees. He faced uncertain re-election prospects in his district over some local issues even before his gay marriage vote, which led to more critical Republican votes in the Senate. He retired rather than face re-election.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results