It’s been nearly two months since Andrew Cuomo named Tom Prendergast as the next MTA CEO and Chairman, and the reaction from Albany has been, as always, deafening silence. Prendergast can’t officially assume the role or its duties until the New York State Senate holds a confirmation hearing and vote, and the Senate has shown no willingness to move quickly, slowly or at all. It’s gotten to the point where Fernando Ferrer, the current interim MTA chair, is getting annoyed and restless.
In comments following the MTA Board meeting yesterday, Ferrer expressed his disappointment with Albany. “Why this has not been scheduled for an advise and consent confirmation hearing is beyond me,” he said. “This is a superb nomination…We have work that must go on for the people of the state and this region and we need firm and stable leadership. Not that we don’t have it today but this arrangement can’t continue much longer and it’s the responsibility of the Senate, I believe, to schedule those confirmation hearings. Promptly.”
A reporter from Newsday reached out to Senator Charles Fuschillo’s office, and a spokesperson for the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee said that no hearings are schedule. Fuschillo’s office, according to Newsday, “declined to elaborate on the reasons for the delay.”
Such a delay is hardly unique to 2013. It took the Senate over two months to confirm both Jay Walder and Joe Lhota, two men, like Prendergast, entirely qualified for the job. So for now, as the MTA forges ahead with Sandy repairs and hardening, we’ll wait for our representatives in Albany to find the right time for their grandstanding on a vote that is nothing more than a formality.