Assembly Democrats Consider Long-Term Versus Interim Silver Replacement
Assembly Democrats this afternoon are working there way through the question of how to replace longtime Speaker Sheldon Silver with either an interim leader or a more permanent successor.
Assemblyman Phil Steck, a Democrat who represents the Albany area, said the conference is working under the assumption that the embattled Silver will resign at some point.
“We’re discussing the process by which the new speaker would be chosen assuming the current speaker would step aside,” Steck told reporters camped outside of the closed-door conference.
Democrats are yet to hear from Silver personally, who remains in his private office off the floor of the Assembly chamber.
“Some members would like to elect a new speaker right away, while others would like to take a longer time to vet candidates,” Steck said.
Steck said there has been no consideration of what would happen if Silver, who faces five charges of corruption and fraud, refused to step down.
“There’s a variety of different opinions, but the hope is that at the end of the there would be a resolution,” Steck said. “I’m hoping it’s this day.”
That lawmakers are haggling over process now suggests a clear successor for Silver is yet to even emerge.
But with an interim leader versus a permanent replacement, several names can be winnowed down.
Selecting an interim speaker has its complications: Majority Leader Joe Morelle would automatically become acting speaker upon Silver’s resignation. The concern for some is that Morelle’s elevation as acting speaker could give him a leg up on an election.
At the same time, a caretaker model has been suggested, with Denny Farrell, the Ways and Means Committee chairman, leading that effort. Assemblyman Joe Lentol, too, has raised the possibility of becoming speaker himself should Silver resign.
Both Lentol and Farrell are close to Silver.
Lentol earlier today reaffirmed his support for keeping Silver as speaker.
Conversely, selecting a permanent replacement now as its issues as well.
Keith Wright and Carl Heastie both are said to be interested in succeeding Silver, but are yet to lock up the needed the support for votes.
Some members have also raised concerns with a new speaker taking over right away in the middle of budget negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
Democrats went into the closed-door conference at noon.
Lawmakers previously emerged last night to say they had lost confidence in Silver’s leadership and called on him to resign.
Steck insisted there was enough support for Silver to leave.
Asked if Democrats had considered what to do if Silver refused to resign, Steck called the scenario a “hypothetical.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on January 27, 2015 at 3:02 pm, and is filed under Assembly. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|