Dean Skelos' reign is over. He can't seem to grasp this at the moment, but everyone around him already has. Skelos should step down as majority leader of the State Senate so some work can get done in the final six weeks of the session.
Democrats walked out of the Senate chamber in Albany Wednesday after they failed to force a vote on his removal. Skelos would have lost if they had succeeded, because five members of the GOP delegation have gone on record saying he should step down.
Skelos, the state's top Republican official, undermines any chance of the GOP holding on to the majority in 2016, when the Senate is up for re-election. That's what senators are whispering to each other. A wounded leader is no leader.OpinionO'Reilly: New York GOP has lost its wayEditorialEditorial: Dean Skelos illustrate workings of AlbanyCartoonCartoon: 3 men in a room
Skelos, who lives in Rockville Centre, has been a strong voice for Long Island, which often didn't get its fair share when someone from Nassau or Suffolk was not in a leadership post. Skelos says he's innocent and he's entitled to the benefit of the doubt. He was elected to the Senate by the voters of his district and he should keep his seat until he chooses to leave or his constituents have the opportunity to make another choice.
But his arrest Monday on federal corruption charges that accuse him of using his power to steer $200,000 to his son, Adam, have rendered him ineffective as majority leader. Neither Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo nor Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will meet with him. Senate Democrats will keep challenging him.
The legislature can spend the next six weeks in suspended animation, just extending for one year laws that will expire -- including the property tax cap. Or it can actually try to govern.
Perhaps now, even the reluctant Senate will have a better understanding of why real ethics reform is needed.