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270 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. Brand new book. GOVERNMENT. Shines a light on the dark corners of New York's legislature and points the way to much-needed reform. Failed State is both an original account of a state legislature in urgent need of reform and a call to action for those who would fix it. Drawing on his experiences both in and out of state government, former New York State senator Seymour P. Lachman reveals and explores Albany's hush-hush, top-down processes, illuminating the hidden, secretive corners where the state assembly and state senate conduct the people's business and spend public money. Part memoir and part expos, Failed State is a revision of and follow-up to Three Men in a Room, published in 2006. The focus of the original book was the injury to democratic governance that arises when three individuals&emdash; governor, senate majority leader, and assembly speaker&emdash; tightly control one of the country's largest and most powerful state governments. Expanding on events that have occurred in the decade since the original book's publication, Failed State shows how this scenario has given way to widespread corruption, among them the convictions of two men in the room&emdash; the senate and assembly leaders&emdash; as well as a number of other state lawmakers. All chapters have been revised and expanded, new chapters have been added, and the final chapter charts a path to durable reform that would change New York's state government from its present-day status as a national disgrace to a model of transparent, more effective state politics and governance. Seymour P. Lachman is the Founding Director of the Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform at Wagner College, where he is also Dean Emeritus and Distinguished University Professor Emeritus. A Democrat from Brooklyn, he served in the New York State Senate from 1996 through 2004 and is the author of Mr. New York: Lew Rudin and His Love for the City. Robert Polner is a Public Affairs Officer at New York University, and while working on this book was also Senior Research Fellow for the Carey Institute. Together Lachman and Polner are the coauthors of The Man Who Saved New York: Hugh Carey and the Great Fiscal Crisis of 1975, also published by SUNY Press. "In his book, Lachman meticulously explains how the wheels turn in Albany, where those who go along get plum committee assignments and extra money for their districts … The juicy details are all there." &emdash; Our Town "...argue[s] convincingly that New York's Constitution is so riddled with anachronisms and has been so circumvented by legislative exceptions that it finally needs to be overhauled." &emdash; New York Times "Three Men in a Room was an important book when it came out over a decade ago, and sadly little has changed since then. In the context of high-level corruption convictions and the ongoing investigations by the US attorney's office, Failed State reminds us just how much needs to be done, and offers constructive recommendations about the kind of reform we so desperately need in Albany." &emdash; Senator Liz Krueger, 28th New York State Senate District "We've all heard that Albany's a mess, that there's too much bad politics and sometimes corruption in the legislature. It's all true. How can that be? Are there any voices crying out 'to do it right'? Seymour Lachman's Failed State takes you on a personal journey that explains how and why it can be that bad, as he discovers exactly what a lonely voice trying 'to do it right' can do&emdash; and what it can't. This is a 'read it and weep' book by a principled man who was a legislator for close to a decade. But better than weeping, read it&emdash; and do something." &emdash; Peter C. Goldmark Jr., former New York State Budget Director and President of the Rockefeller Foundation "In Failed State Seymour Lachman provides a bird's-eye view into how New York's state legislature works&emdash; and doesn't work...
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