Legislation aimed at preventing public authorities from awarding “golden parachute” severance packages is heading to the governor’s desk.

Tuesday, the New York State Assembly passed the Severance Pay Limitation Act which limits the package allowable for at-will employees to no more than three months pay and ensured payments are not considered in calculating retirement packages.

Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, D-Lancaster, introduced the bill after reports last year showed the former Erie County Water Authority executive director’s contract guaranteed an estimated $300,000-$400,000 payout should he be forced out of his position for political reasons before his term ended in 2020. The news came less than two months after the authority raised its rates.

“As a ratepayer myself, I was angered by this news because it represents government at its worst,” Wallace said. “Erie County Water Authority customers expect that when their rates increase, the money will go toward addressing crumbling infrastructure and water quality improvements – not lucrative severance packages. I am glad that my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate have recognized the need to curtail future abuses, and I urge the governor to sign the legislation into law.”

ECWA fired Executive Director Earl Jann last year following a scathing report from the state authorities budget office which also criticized his “golden parachute.” Ultimately, the authority said Jann was not paid the severance as it was able to void his contract.

“Golden parachute severance packages might be appropriate in the private sector, but they have no place in a public authority whose mission is to provide a public service to its ratepayers in a fiscally responsible manner,” Wallace said.

The state Senate passed its legislation, sponsored by Leroy Comrie, D-St. Albans, earlier this year.