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NEW YORK—Governor Andrew Cuomo and his staff are considering replacing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“This is a rare moment for sweeping change,” Cuomo told his aides this weekend, according to the New York Post.
Silver has been speaker since 1994, during which time about a dozen Assembly members have been charged, sentenced, or forced to resign, according to the Post. The latest incidents came last week, during charges that one state senator tried to bribe his way into the mayor’s race, while another was accused of taking bribes for introducing legislation benefiting a day care company. These have spurred calls for reform in both the city and state political systems.
“Shelly’s been the master of gaming the corrupt system for 20 years,” a Cuomo administration source told the Post. “He’s made millions off of it, and the coalition that keeps him in power are the ones who feed off the corrupt system.”
Under the current system in Albany, the speaker of the Assembly and the leaders of the Senate, along with the governor, have much power, and are able to kill legislation behind closed doors, such as the congestion pricing proposal several years ago.
Rochester Assembly person Joseph Morelle, appointed Democrat majority leader earlier this year, could be Silver’s replacement, though New York City officials likely wouldn’t want to see the position move upstate.