ALBANY—Asked by a judge to settle their dispute internally, the competing sides of a leadership struggle in the State Senate emerged from a closed-door negotiating session agreeing that they can't stop bickering until the judge himself weighs in.
"We talked, but we have decided that we need the judicial decision from Judge McNamara tomorrow morning," State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., a Democrat who Republicans consider to be the chamber's duly elected president pro tempore. "We need judicial intervention, we need judicial clarity."
The Republicans filed a motion last Friday asking that the lawsuit–pending before Justice Thomas McNamara–which was filed by the Democrats, be thrown out. They maintain that if McNamara declines to get involved in the legislative process, as he has indicated from the bench is his preference, then the last vote of the chamber stands.
"Our position is that it was 32-30, that was the vote," Republican Leader Dean Skelos said. "The vote last Monday was very clear: 32-30. Period."
Democrats said they wanted to "get back to the people to the state of New York," but that the discussion didn't progress past the point of who would be in charge of the chamber.
"I'm not going to work on an agreement on unreasonable terms," newly named Democratic conference leader John Sampson said. "We're not going to acquiesce our position to their position."
"People don't care about titles; they are just concerned with whether they can put food on their tables, put a roof over their heads, and be able to go to work. That's what this is about," he added.
Both sides are due back in McNamara's court room at 10 a.m. Tuesday.