ALBANY—It looks like State Senator Malcolm Smith is taking a different approach to a leadership deal this time.
Smith met with the “gang of three” state senators last night, and an agreement under which the renegades will get committee chairmanships under Smith–similar to what was agreed last time–is close at hand.
Sources on both sides confirm that nothing has been set in stone as Smith tries to cobble together a 32-vote coalition and become chamber’s next majority leader. Smith would not agree to anything without speaking to his conference, which will gather tonight at the Capitol.
“All of us are going to find out where we are, and get our input–is it a yea, is it a nay–and we’ll move from there,” State Senator Eric Adams said.
When a deal with the trio was reached in December, it fell apart, and some senators who supported Smith were disappointed both with the deal and because they didn’t have any say until after the fact.
As for the renegades–State Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr., Senators Ruben Diaz Sr. and Carl Kruger–Adams said he would welcome them into the conference, even as committee chairmen. “If they’re not there, that tells you something,” Adams said about this evening’s conference.
Diaz just told me by phone that he does not plan to attend.