Photo tweeted by Patrick Dodson, Schenectady Daily Gazette
The sleazy deal put together over the weekend by Sheldon Silver and a handful of loyalists, including Rochester Assemblyman Joe Morelle, appears to have collapsed. Its purpose was to make it appear that Silver was "stepping back," while keeping him in control through a committee of five front-men, including Morelle.
This was too much even for many Assembly Democrats. First, Democratic Assembly members from downstate districts outside of New York City rejected the deal, which they described as "dictated" to them. The photo above shows Morelle accompanying his patron to an appearance at yesterday's meeting of Assembly Democrats. Most of the meeting took place without Silver in the room. According to the Albany Times-Union, by the time it ended, the consensus was that Silver should resign. If not, he'd face a potential vote to oust him.
Today's New York Times reports:
On Monday night, the Assembly majority leader, Joseph D. Morelle, a Democrat from the Rochester area, went into Mr. Silver’s office to tell the speaker of his colleagues’ feelings, other Democratic members of the Assembly said. They gave him until Tuesday to make a decision on whether to step down, or risk being ousted from his position.Publicly at least, Silver has responded with defiance: "I am the Speaker." A simple, true fact. We'll be watching to see if it remains so at the end of today.
Assembly Democrats meet at noon to consider the matter further. Will Silver resign by then? Possibly, but in our view unlikely. Somebody who considered the fig-leaf proposal to exercise power through a committee of five loyalists to be acceptable to the public will look for another way to hold on to power while appearing to relinquish it. Yet it doesn't seem that his Democratic colleagues will go along.