New York Gov. David Paterson has appointed former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch as lieutenant governor — in theory — being able to break the deadlocked state Senate. Paterson says the gridlock caused by a fight for control of the chamber is holding up critical legislation. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has previously said that the appointment of a lieutenant governor would be unconstitutional. The position has been vacant since Paterson took over after Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008; Cuomo said that the appointment should have been made at that time.
Paterson’s moves come as some senators are setting a Thursday deadline for resolving the conflict that began June 8.
Senators from the Democratic conference and the Republican-dominated coalition that mounted a coup are expected to meet on several proposals to end the fight.
Also today, Paterson is stopping the senators’ pay and expense checks.
Paterson used TV a year ago to warn about New York’s fiscal crisis. It gave him a boost in his poll ratings, which are now at low levels.