Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Assembly Speaker Silver, D-Manhattan, isn’t to blame for the latest series of scandals to rock the chamber. And Cuomo denied that he’s looking to oust Silver as speaker.
The New York Post reported today that Cuomo may be eying to take out Silver and replace him with Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, who is a Cuomo ally.
But Cuomo said he wants no part is picking the Assembly speaker, and he questioned whether the bribery scandal involving two Bronx assemblymen could have been thwarted by Silver, who has held the post since 1994.
“I don’t know what culpability you could place on anyone but those individuals,” Cuomo said today on “The Capitol Pressroom.” “And as a general rule, I work very well as partners with the Legislature. I’m a partner to Assembly Speaker Silver; I’m a partner to Dean Skelos and Senator Klein on the other side.”
The Legislature, a separate branch of government, hasn’t taken kindly to executive branch interference. When Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2007 went to war with the Assembly over its appointment of a state comptroller in 2007, he was dismissed by the lawmakers.
It’s a lesson that Cuomo suggested he is willing to heed.
“It is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader. I would never even for a moment try to influence that decision,” Cuomo said. “In this case, I don’t see what the speaker had to do with any of these purely, personal individual acts by two Assembly people.”
Before Cuomo took office, there was a lot of speculation that Cuomo would look to install his own Assembly speaker. But Cuomo hasn’t done so, and he and Silver has worked together to pass three on-time budgets, and Silver has shepherded through Cuomo’s agenda through the Democratic-led Assembly.
“We just accomplished one of the great feats. We’ve been bragging all over the state about how we just the third on-time budget, the first time in 30 years,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said.