January 10th, 2007
The possible brawl between Governor Eliot Spitzer and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver ( forecast by the New York Times on Monday) seems to have been averted at least for now. In what Michael Gormley of the Associated Press calls “a sign of unusual bipartisanship for Albany,” a bipartisan group of former comptrollers will determine whether a person holds the qualifications to be the state’s top fiscal officer and to oversee its huge public employee pension fund. The state legislature, which has the ultimate responsibility for choosing the new comptroller, will select only a candidate who passes muster with that group. Republican Ned Regan and Democrat H. Carl McCall will be on the panel, with the third member likely to be former New York City Comptroller Harrison Goldin, a Democrat, reports Rick Karlin in the Albany Times-Union.
The plan was developed by Spitzer, Silver, Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and the minority leaders of both houses of the legislature. “We have tried to remove politics from this process . . . to breed confidence from the public,” Spitzer said.
The comptroller job became vacant when Alan Hevesi was forced to resign following his admission that he defrauded the state government by using a state employee to chauffeur his ailing wife. Reports have said that Silver wants a Democratic member of the legislature to take the job, while Spitzer favors an outsider, probably with financial experience. Today, Capitol Confidential reports on another theory – that Spitzer will push for a member of the legislature, but a Republican. This would further chip away at the slim GOP majority in the Senate – and be in the tradition of comptrollers belonging to a different party than the governor.By Gail Robinson on January 10, 2007, 1:28 pm
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