Smith Eyes Upstaters for Promotion

State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is putting some upstate members of his conference in high positions in the State Senate leadership.

He will name State Senator David Valesky of Syracuse as vice president pro tempore (the post comes with a $34,000 stipend) on a visit to the district today, a high ranking Senate source confirmed. According to Senate sources, Valesky was hoping to take over the Transportation Committee, which went to State Senator Martin Dilan. Dilan, of Brooklyn, was an ancillary player in the negotiations with the gang of three, sources in that camp said, and the assignment was seen to be another decision made to bring the three renegades into the fold behind Smith.

That leaves State Senator Bill Stachowski of Buffalo. He was named chairman of the Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee on Tuesday evening, which is something of a demotion – he was in line to take over the Finance Committee, a post that went to State Senator Carl Kruger, and during the preliminary deal with the gang would have become deputy majority leader, a post now occupied by State Senator Jeff Klein of the Bronx.

I asked Stachowski about the apparent downgrade Tuesday night after the deal was announced, and he said he expected to be satisfied when leadership posts were announced.

Two sources said he might be given a ceremonial vice presidency for upstate issues – similar to one of State Senator Pedro Espada Jr.'s titles: "vice president of the Senate for urban policy."

Smith Eyes Upstaters for Promotion