About that meeting yesterday in Albany for Democratic Senate staffers with Minority Leader Malcolm Smith…
Senate Democratic staffers came “from locations as far away as Buffalo and Long Island” and the event was, according to a statement from Smith's office, "historic.”
From the statement:
“The purpose of the meeting was to unveil the Conference’s ‘9 to 5 Agenda’ for improving quality of life in New York. It also
mobilized staff to develop a comprehensive plan for putting the needs of hard-working New Yorkers and families first.”
It's worth noting that since this was a political event and not a governmental one, officially speaking, the staffers from Buffalo, Long Island and everywhere else had to pay their own way to get there.
A spokesman for Smith, Curtis Taylor, confirmed that the staffers were not reimbursed for travel expenses associated with the meeting.
UPDATE: Curtis Taylor, a spokesman for Smith, called to object to the description of the meeting as “political,” saying it was similar to other Democratic conference meetings at which officials and staffers discussed policy objectives.
The main difference, as noted in the press release they sent out, is that the gathering at the State Museum was “the first ever meeting of the Senate Democratic Conference’s entire 300-person staff."
Below is the full statement from Smith's office:
Senate Democratic Leader Smith Holds
Historic Meeting Of All Conference Staff
Meeting served as opportunity for Smith to introduce“9-to-5 Agenda”
of policy goals and energize staff in developing plan for Conference's
future State Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) today
held what is believed to be the first ever meeting of the Senate
Democratic Conference's entire 300-person staff at the State Museum in
The purpose of the meeting was to unveil the Conference’s “9 to 5
Agenda” for improving quality of life in New York. It also
mobilized staff to develop a comprehensive plan for putting the
needs of hard-working New Yorkers and families first.
“Since becoming the Leader, I have wanted to make sure that each
and every member of the staff has a hand in how we set our policy. I
truly believe that there are no better people to ask about the
direction of our State than these dedicated, hard working New
Yorkers who are trying to improve the quality of life for their
family and neighbors,” Smith said.
Staff members came to the State Museum in Albany from locations as
far away as Buffalo and Long Island. After lunch, Senator Smith
introduced the Conference’s “9 to 5 Agenda: Making New York a Better
Place to Live, Work, Grow and Thrive.”
Smith said the State has for too long enacted policies that have
hampered New Yorkers who want to raise their children, be safe and
“People have been looking for change for several years now, be it
in the area of government reform, health care, education or any
other number of topics. And they are looking to Governor Spitzer and
Senate Democrats to help bring about that change. Before the 2004
elections, there were only 24 Senate Democrats. In the space of two
years and three months, we have added five members to our ranks,” Smith
Smith also touted the 2020 Vision, a plan to help New York regain
its prominence by the end of the next decade.
“I am proud to be the leader of a conference that has 29 of the
best and brightest minds in our State, but we would be nothing if it
weren’t for our staff. From Buffalo to Long Island, and from
Syracuse to Queens, they are here to help us do our jobs to the best
of our ability. When we win two more seats and take the majority,
these workers will help us attain our goal of making New York a
state whose government is responsive to people who elected it,”