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Former Senator Alesi has new job
Rochester, N.Y. - James Alesi served as an elected leader in Albany for two decades before retiring at the end of 2012. 13WHAM News has now learned Alesi has a new job with New York State thanks an appointment by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
On August 14th Governor Cuomo tapped Alesi to fill a vacancy on the states Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. The five full-time salaried members of the board are appointed to six year terms. Alesi will serve out the term of a seat that has remained vacant since November 2011 according to a spokesman for the governor.
By law the position pays board members a salary of $90,800. Alesis term will end in November 2017.
The New York State Comptrollers Office confirms Alesi started collecting his state pension on January 1, 2013. For nearly 23 years of public service Alesi collects $2,935.94 per month for an annual payout of more than $35,000.
If salary and pension are considered, conservative calculations show that Alesi will earn at least $540,000 in public dollars by the time his term on the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board is complete.
Richard Azzopardi of the Governors Press Office provided the following statement:
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. He brings a real world perspective and serious policy experience to the job.
13WHAM News began inquiring about Alesis new job more than a week ago. Calls to various communications offices for agencies in Albany were unreturned. Calls to the Rochester office of the Unemployment Insurance department indicated that certain staffers knew James Alesi and that he had a new position in that building but nobody had contact information for him. A voicemail did not appear to be set up and nobody could provide an email address for the former state senator.
On Friday 13WHAM News went to those offices and inquired in person about Alesis whereabouts. We were again directed to contact the Albany communications office and later asked to leave the building. Hours later the Governors Office responded with detailed information about Alesis recent appointment.
Alesi decided in 2012 not to seek re-election to his New York State Senate seat. He had served in the state legislature, first as an Assemblyman, since 1992.
His re-election bid was thought to be a difficult one with a Republican primary opponent certain to attack Alesis key vote in the Governors 2011 push marriage equality. That was also the year Alesi made headlines for suing two constituents exactly three years after he trespassed on their property.
13WHAMs many attempts to reach out to Alesi for comment about this new position were not responded to. Except for one voicemail he left on a reporters work cell phone on August 23rd, nine days after he was appointed to this new position by the Governor.
"I just wanted you to know I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just no longer in public life, Alesi stated in the voicemail before declaring himself, Private Citizen Jim Alesi.
Subsequent attempts to contact Alesi by 13WHAM News were also unsuccessful.
The Governors Press Office was asked if anyone else expressed interest in this vacant board seat but Azzopardi explained he did not have immediate access to that information.