Senate Dems In No Rush On Mayoral Control

Shirley L. Huntley

July 16, 2009

By Elizabeth Benjamin: The Daily Politics

We could be in for another long day here at the Capitol.

Key Democratic senators told the DN's Glenn Blain they are still awaiting word from Team Bloomberg as to whether any amendments to the Assembly mayoral control bill are acceptable.

It remains unclear if the measure will be voted on today.

“I think that we will conference and whatever is good for the children of the city of New York is what the conference will do,” said Sen. Shirley Huntley, who is sponsoring one of the three Democratic chapter amendments to the Assembly bill.

“And we’re not in a hurry. I could be here forever,” the Queens lawmaker added.

Huntley said she met this morning with Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott to discuss “issues” - including a memorandum of understanding and the proposed chapter amendments. Huntley mentioned that she wanted to see the role of district superintendents enhanced.

“We don’t feel you should pay superintendents $200,000 a year just to deal with parent problems,” she said.

Huntley said she would prefer that the Senate not vote today and instead wait for the Assembly to come back this fall so the two houses can vote on the chapter amendments at the same time.

“I doubt it will,” Huntley said when asked whether the Assembly bill will be acted upon today.

Republican Sen. Marty Golden went even further, saying flatly: "It's not going to happen". He blamed the Democrats for continuing to pile on amendments that the Bloomberg administration can't - or won't - accept.

Sens. Jeff Klein and Eric Schneiderman, however, were a bit more optimistic, saying negotiations are still underway.

“I’m hopeful,” Klein said. “I think it needs to be done...I would stay as long as it takes.”

Schneiderman insisted the entire matter could be resolved with “an hour of negotiations with people who are empowered to make a decisions," adding: "We can do this.”

Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey was in Albany yesterday to participate in the mayoral control talks, but has since departed for Washington, D.C., where the mayor is scheduled to testify on behalf of US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor