Pensions of convicted elected leaders questioned

Should elected leaders forfeit their pensions if they are convicted of a crime? It is a question that may soon go before voters.

13WHAM News found nine public servants who were convicted of felonies and still collect $500,000 a year in pensions.

Former State Assemblyman Jerry Johnson was convicted of breaking into a staffer's home. Johnson gets nearly $40,000.

Joseph Bruno gets $96,000 a year, even though he was convicted of peddling his influence as a state senator.

Some lawmakers are skeptical of the proposal for a new constitutional amendment that would allow a judge to strip retirement benefits for convicted public officials.

"They've now proposed a constitutional amendment that at the best would not be effective until 2017. That means that any of the sitting legislators and the governor himself would effectively be exempt. I think that's wrong," said Assemblyman Bill Nojay (R) Avon.

Instead, Nojay says the assembly should pass the version of the bill that is already there, and doesn't require a delay for a constitution amendment to be put before voters.

The senate has already passed a similar version, but the two would have to be reconciled. There's also only one month left to do that in order to get the amendment process moving forward this year.