The New York State Senate is a model legislature. Currently on vacation after its taxing summer, the Senate does not have a near-broke and currently-leaderless transit authority on its hands, and a nomination for the Chairmanship of this important body is not sitting on the docket.
Hold on. Let me try that again. The New York State Senate, a model for inept state government, is currently on vacation after making a mockery of itself earlier this year. On its docket rests the nomination of Jay Walder as the MTA head by David Paterson, the embattled governor of New York. As retribution for Paterson’s early-summer machinations surrounding the delinquent legislature, the Senate Democrats plan to grill Walder for all he’s got. Despite his qualifications, despite his pedigree, he will not escape a hearing.
Today, we find out that the political show, at the taxpayer’s expense, will be meaningless. amNew York’s Heather Haddon reports that the Senate will pick up Walder’s nomination on its first day in session and that he will be confirmed. She reports:
The state Senate will discuss Gov. David Paterson’s nominee for the new MTA chief on its first day back in session, said Austin Shafran, spokesman for Democratic Senate President Malcolm Smith.
Last month, Paterson nominated Walder, a former MTA executive and manager of London’s transit system, as the agency’s CEO and chair, a new merged position. Prior to the confirmation, the Senate will hold joint public hearings on Walder in Long Island and Harlem, Shafran said. Senate sources believe Walder is a shoe-in for the job because of his extensive work experience.
So tell me again what the point of this drama is. Walder should have been confirmed last month before the Senate recessed for the summer. He will face the same questions and same level of Senate oversight over the next few weeks as he would have last month. Futhermore, as the MTA grapples with a $10 billion capital program funding gap and myriad other economic issues, Walder needs to be on the job.
The State Senate is an embarrassment to New York. We can’t let them hold the city and its transportation needs hostage. Walder should be confirmed and soon.