As you know, NYSPEC has been in the forefront in opposition of the pension divestiture legislation – S2126-A (Senator Krueger) / A1536-A (Assemblyman Ortiz).
Comptroller DiNapoli addressed our membership on several occasions regarding this issue, and asked for our help in defeating the legislation.
From the onset, I have been in regular contact with Comptroller DiNapoli on the status of this legislation. We had serious concerns this year that during the pandemic, without our physical presence in Albany, that there would be attempts under the radar to advance the legislation. Indeed, in May we were alerted to an effort by the assembly sponsor to add additional co-sponsors to the bill. We wrote to leadership, and to every legislator, individually, to explain our opposition on behalf of public employees, urging those who had already signed on to remove themselves as sponsors and those who had not to refrain from doing so.
Recently, the Comptroller expressed to me that he was in communication with Senator Krueger in an effort to reach an agreement to forestall re-introduction of the legislation in the upcoming session. I am pleased to report to you that an agreement was reached, and the Comptroller’s press release regarding it, issued today, is attached. As a result, the legislation will not be re-introduced.
The Comptroller will build on his current Climate Action agenda, and accelerate it to 2025. Initially the talk was doing it by 2030. The Comptroller has always maintained that he had a plan, however he wanted to implement it under his investment methods and not be dictated to by the legislature as to how and when to divest, which was the major point of contention. We all agreed that the Comptroller has been doing a fantastic job in managing New York State’s Common Retirement Fund, and he should be allowed to continue to control all the investing as sole trustee. A synopsis of the agreement is in the press release.
When the Comptroller called me on Monday, he wanted me to express to all of you that he appreciates all of our efforts, and he believes we were extremely helpful in getting the outcome to this point. Many of our NYSPEC member units individually, along with us, were in support of the Comptroller. My one question to him was, “Are you satisfied with the agreement?”, and he stated that he was. I informed him then that is a victory for him and for NYSPEC. I also informed him that if anything should change he should know that NYSPEC will be there to support him again.
I wanted you to hear this information from me. I am sure you will read the Comptroller’s announcement as well. Keep in mind whenever there are agreements each party will convey the agreement differently. What is important to note is that the Comptroller will continue to be the one who makes the decisions on the investing and protecting the Fund on behalf of its million-plus active and retired members, which is a victory for public employees.