When three state senators held a news conference urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to intervene in the Long Island Rail Road labor dispute, they judiciously avoided offering opinions on tricky particulars -- such as what a fair wage deal might look like.
Appearing Wednesday at the Hicksville LIRR station, Sens. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) and Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) stuck to a broader message that the hour is growing late toward a possible strike and that even this uncertainty is potentially harmful.
Martins warned that Congress, a potential arbiter if a strike occurs under the LIRR's federal labor process, will soon be in recess. Marcellino said: "We want the governor to do what he does -- work his magic so it doesn't get to a strike."
When asked if he thought pay hikes proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority -- announced as 17 percent over seven years -- sounded reasonable, Marcellino said that beyond media reports he had "not seen a proposal so I'm not sure if it's reasonable or not."
This bargaining is complex. MTA cost-savings demands come into play. And Marcellino said the senators don't want added fare hikes because commuters already pay plenty to ride.
RESETTING THE CLOCK?: Many local politicos know that if Democratic Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice wins a congressional seat, and thus vacates her current job by Jan. 3, the governor could then pick her replacement for the rest of 2015. An election for DA would follow in November.
But even some seasoned operatives didn't realize when contacted last week that a special election for DA would carry a full four-year term -- not just the two years left on Rice's current elected term.
Past practice and legal opinions, cited in attorney Jerry Goldfeder's published election-law guide, bear this out. In November 1995, a few months after Kenneth Gribetz was forced out as Rockland County DA, then-Gov. George Pataki's appointee, Michael Bongiorno, won a full four-year term. Victoria A. Graffeo, then state solicitor general (now a state Court of Appeals judge), advised this be done. It happened that way in Queens in 1991 when Richard Brown succeeded John Santucci as DA.
So unless Republican Bruce Blakeman wins the 4th District seat, a new four-year cycle commences. Nassau's DA no longer would run in the same year as other countywide officers -- executive, clerk and comptroller.