Sen. O'Mara Defends Controversial Stipend Received

ALBANY, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - New York State Senator Tom O'Mara, (R, C, IP) Big Flats, is defending a stipend he reportedly received for a committee position he doesn't hold.

O'Mara spoke to reporters in Albany Tuesday after the New York Times broke the story Friday. The newspaper reporting, around seven state senators were incorrectly marked as committee chairmen in state payroll documents sent to the comptroller to receive larger stipends.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said Monday everything the party has done is "in full accordance with the constitution and legislative law." Senate Democrats, however, are not buying it, saying that Flanagan’s legal interpretation was an “open invitation to further corruption," according to the New York Times.

"Senator O'Mara, who is vice chairman of the transportation committee, received a $15,000 chairman stipend reserved for the chairman of the committee. He accepted the $15,000 over the $12,500  he's qualified to earn as chairman of the environmental conservation committee," according to the New York Times.

O'Mara said he's always been open about the stipend. "We now have legal opinion from senate council. That says that practice is appropriate and as long as the practice is demand to be appropriate. I have accepted, and was please to receive that higher stipend," O'Mara said Monday.  "When your boss, so to speak, comes to you and says, You're getting a raise, I said, Thank you."

O'Mara represents New York's 58th Senate District.

WEB EXTRA: Sen O'Mara interviewed by reporters in Albany Monday. Watch Video!


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