Gov. Andrew Cuomo shrugged off the questioning of his pension smoothing plan that’s come most prominently from his own Democratic Party Co-Chair, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Cuomo said this morning at a Red Room news conference that he wouldn’t remove Miner from the post, saying her role as mayor of Syracuse and the upstate leader of the party are mutually exclusive.

“One thing has nothing to do with the other,” Cuomo said. “Her political position has nothing to do with her feelings as mayor on a government program.”

The governor’s $142.6 billion spending plan includes a proposed provision that would allow local governments to lock in a stable pension rate now at the expense of future savings down the road.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who has proposed similar plans in the past, has said he has “serious concerns” over the proposal, and would have to approve such a move.

But Miner’s skepticism, which she continued on this week while testifying before a joint legislative budget panel in Albany, is unusual given her political role. Miner said she didn’t find the questioning of the program awkward, given her co-chair post.

Cuomo reiterated today that the plan is optional.

“The pension plan is an option that a mayor can choose or a county executive can choose to take it or not,” he said. “Nobody said, ‘Syracuse must do this.’ If she doesn’t think she should do this, then don’t take the program.”

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