Sheekey and Walcott Talk to Senators, So Does Paterson

ALBANY–New York City's lobbying power increased today, with deputy mayors Kevin Sheekey and Dennis Walcott joining city education-department lobbyists Micah Lasher and Michelle Goldstein up here, presumably to talk to senators about mayoral control of schools. Walcott told me he was pushing to have the Assembly's version of school governance reauthorization passed by the Senate.

Sheekey was spotted ducking into the conference, but was typically tight-lipped about what he was up to.

The schools bill picked up a Democratic co-sponsor–State Senator Daniel Squadron–who told me he signed on because the Assembly bill met his concerns with increasing transparency and oversight.

I asked if this meant he might join Republicans to pass just the schools bill.

"No," he said. "I continue to believe that a fair, bi-partisan agreement is the way that we're able to get back into the chamber. The answer is now."

Meanwhile, after meeting privately with their fellow Democrats, State Senators John Sampson and Malcolm Smith went to the second floor to meet with representatives from the governor's office. They were joined by leaders of the Republican-dominated coalition, Dean Skelos and Pedro Espada Jr.

All left without taking questions. Peter Kauffmann, Paterson's top spokesman, said the governor would hold a press conference at 3:30.