Normally when the state Senate and Assembly hold a joint session to, say, elect members of the Board of Regents or a state comptroller, the lieutenant governor is the presiding officer.
That’s not going to happen this time.
With Lt. Gov. David Paterson aligned with Gov. Eliot Spitzer on this fight, legislators apparently aren’t going to give him the gavel. Assembly leaders have given notice that a motion will be made at the start of Wednesday’s joint session to replace Paterson with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as the presiding officer, a top Assembly staffer side.
That’s a fork in Spitzer’s eye and a safety measure to guard against Paterson making any ruling that would somehow block the Assembly Democrats from nominating one of their own members for the comptroller’s job.
Spitzer and Paterson, of course, want the Legislature to stick to an agreement to choose one of the three finalists nominated by an independent screening panel (you know, the one that said no legislators were qualified).
UPDATE: Spitzer’s aides say that Paterson’s gavel wielding doesn’t officially extend to the joint session and they don’t see this as a slap, just normal procedure.