Silver open to per diem reform in pay raise talks

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he’s open to reforming the state’s oft-criticized system for reimbursing lawmakers’ lodging and food costs for days they’re in Albany.

Dean Skelos,Sheldon SilverSpeaking to reporters at the state Capitol on Tuesday, Silver opened the door to revamping the per diem system, which currently gives lawmakers $172 for each night they spend in Albany to cover hotel and meal expenses — no receipts required.

When asked if he would be open to per diem reform, Silver said: “I’m fine with that.”

“There are a number of ways to do it and I’m obviously open to suggestions to how we do it,” said Silver, D-Manhattan.

Silver’s comments echo those by Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who said Tuesday that he would be amenable to negotiating changes to the reimbursement system.

Two state lawmakers in the past two years have gotten into trouble with their per diem reimbursements, including now-former Assemblyman William Boyland, a Brooklyn Democrat who was ordered by the comptroller to repay some of his per diem payments. In October, Assemblyman William Scarborough, D-Queens, was arrested on charges related to his reimbursements.

(AP file photo)

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