Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein says he will propose a power-sharing system with the Senate Republicans, according to a story posted on The New York Times’ website this evening.

Klein told the paper that the proposal would allow the Senate GOP and his four-member IDC to have a say over setting committee agendas, the passage of bills and have a seat at the table during budget negotiations.

Klein insisted last week that the IDC would remain an independent entity, but has faced growing pressure from labor organizations and other progressive groups that want to see a Democratic-led Senate.

The IDC is composed of Klein, Staten Island Sen. Diane Savino, Rockland County Sen. David Carlucci and Syracuse-area Sen. David Valesky.

Klein says he formed the IDC nearly two years ago out of frustration with the Democratic conference, but the remaining conference has charged he simply wanted more power and bares some responsibility as deputy majority leader for the Senate’s dysfunction.

For Klein and the IDC, the move to conference separately has always been about functionality. They say that it’s not power for power’s sake they’re seeking, but a means of getting good policy through the Legislature.

His comments — by far the Bronx Democrat’s most extensive since Election Day left the balance of power in the Senate undetermined — come as two races in the chamber remain undecided.

The closest watched race is in the 46th Senate District, where Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk trails Republican George Amedore by roughly 150 votes, with more than 600 paper ballots challenged by Republicans (Democrats have challenged 200).

The race will likely be decided in court, though Democrats believe they have an edge given the large number of GOP challenges.

Should Tkaczyk lose, the IDC’s proposal would be ultimately a moot point. Republicans would have a working majority thanks to Democratic Sen.-elect Simcha Felder, who has pledged to conference with the GOP.

But with the balance of power in flux, Klein’s decision to go on the record with the Times shows that he was willing to make a deal by forming a potential coalition government, throwing in his lot with the GOP while he still has the leverage.

There’s also an interesting choice of art accompanying this story. Klein is posed in front of posters featuring liberal heroes Franklin Roosevelt, Robert Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson as if to illustrate he’s still a true blue Democrat.