State Senate Breaks With Hermann

ALBANY—Robert Hermann, who was alleged by Inspector General Joseph Fisch to have violated the public officers law, is no longer working for the Democrats in the State Senate.

"Today, the Senate accepted the resignation of Mr. Robert Hermann, Special Counsel to the Senate Majority, effective immediately," Austin Shafran, press secretary for Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, said in a terse statement e-mailed to reporters while many sat in a leaders meeting.

Hermann had been working with Smith's central staff for the last few months. He served as the director of the Office of Regulatory Reform under Eliot Spitzer, and was allegedly a "back channel" between Integrity Commission Executive Director Herb Teitelbaum and other members of Spitzer's cabinet.

Teitelbaum resigned from that post yesterday, but expressed support for the commission's work.

UPDATE: Hermann e-mailed along this statement.

I resigned today as special counsel to the Senate because the unceasing cacophony created by the Inspector General inquiry has made my continued service unpalatable to me and distracting for the business of the Senate.  I left private law practice two years ago to try to make a difference in state government in such areas as improved legal services for the poor and regulatory reform.  That mission, successful for a while, is implausible at this point. 

I regret that my efforts to provide advice, including urging production by the Governor's office of all documents sought by investigators and successfully resolving conflicts of interest that had unforeseeably emerged among some counsel defending the Troopergate matter, have been inaccurately interpreted by the Inspector General.  I disagree strongly with the findings, and I expect that upon any reasonable review, the determinations made about my conduct will be seen as unfounded in fact and law.

I add only that an IG proceeding is unlike any other. You are not informed what, if any, provision of law you may have violated. You are not allowed to hear or read others' testimony, or to see what documents are being considered as evidence.  The staff then decides who told the truth, even if they were not in the room to assess the witnesses.  In short, prosecutor, judge and jury functions are all rolled into one.  Long after the damage is done, the records may be released.  Others have observed that this process does not serve the people's interests. Nonetheless, remaining in my current position does not advance that discussion or the best interests of the Senate, my family, or me.

State Senate Breaks With Hermann