Democratic Sen. Tony Avella is calling for Sheldon Silver to relinquish his post as head of the state Assembly. Avella is the first Democrat to call for Silver's resignation following revelations about Silver's involvement in negotiating a secret settlement with two women who have accused Assemblyman Vito Lopez of sexual harassment.
â€śThe culture in Albany of â€What happens in Albany stays in Albanyâ€™ has to stop,â€ť Avella said in a statement. â€śAssembly Member Silver has had a great career serving our State; but he is now seen as the classic example of the dysfunction and back room deals that has plagued Albany for decades. If ever that was a time for change â€” it is now!â€ť
The fact that Avella is willing to risk calling out the extremely powerful Assembly Speaker means that some of Silver's once impenetrable mystique is slipping away.
Silver issued a statement saying that he should not have kept the settlement secret in the days following initial revelations about the Lopez scandal.
â€śI take full responsibility in not insisting that all cases go to the ethics committee,â€ť Silver said in a statement. â€śWhile that opinion is both legally correct and ethical and can result in a resolution sought by complaining employees, I now believe it was the wrong one from the perspective of transparency.â€ť
Here is the full release from Avella's office:Avella Calls on Speaker Silver to Step Down