Senator: 1-Day President Pro Tem serves in official capacity, steps down after bills pass
Governor, Democratic Conference open to idea, Espada-led conference opts to hold bills hostage
ALBANY (June 26, 2009)—State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine said today that he has presented a compromise plan to the governor and both conferences that would end the stalemate that threatens close to 400,000 jobs across the state.
The plan would ask all members with claim to leadership to step aside, allowing a neutral rank and file member to take the title of Senate President Pro Tempore for a day in order to move critical legislation, including Power For Jobs, local sales tax extenders, and other home rule legislation. This new leader would then sign necessary documents required to send the legislation to the Governor to sign it into law, before stepping down to let leaders from both sides resume their negotiations.
“What we need is for calmer heads to prevail,” Sen. Aubertine said. “What the people of New York need is for their issues to take center stage and have Senators Espada, Skelos, Smith and Sampson go to their neutral corners and have someone else take the reins for 4 hours or whatever it takes for these non-controversial bills to move. Then both sides can resume their negotiations over who gets what title. Let that go to binding arbitration or be settled some other way. That’s fine, but don’t threaten the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers including some 6,000 in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.”
Senator Aubertine said the governor’s office has expressed support for the proposal. Senators Malcolm A. Smith and John L. Sampson in Democratic Leadership have also expressed their support for the idea, along with numerous rank and file members in the Democratic Conference. However, Senators Pedro Espada and Dean G. Skelos refused to consider it.
“If they’re holding these bills hostage to keep Pedro Espada as their leader, how will they explain their actions to every employee who may lose their job when Power for Jobs expires?” Sen. Aubertine continued. “This is a fair compromise. There’s no down side to this for anyone. In the meantime, this solves the short term concerns about passing this legislation and getting session closed down. After we take care of the people we represent, then talks can resume on a leadership agreement.”