Senate Leadership Roles (and Perks) Still Unclear

ALBANY—It's been 24 hours since Malcolm Smith announced his leadership line-up for the Democratic State Senate majority, but there's still a lot of confusion about what it all means.

Legislative rules are no guide.

I looked through McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York State and found no specific enumeration of duties for either the vice president pro tempore (Jeff Klein) or the deputy majority leader (Bill Stachowski). The Senate's rules are no more enlightening.

The legislative rules, however, do spell out compensation for the posts: Klein and Stachowski are on track to get $34,000 on top of the base pay of $79,500.

According to Liz, the majority leader position, which Smith has set aside for Pedro Espada, does not come with a lu-lu, but bestows plenty of power.

Both positions also sit, ex-officio (in this case, without voting power), on every standing Senate committee. Stachowski also has the power to coordinate meetings for the standing committees.

As a reader pointed out, I was wrong yesterday to say that there is currently no vice president pro tempore. Senator Frank Padavan has held that post since 2003.