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Cuomo counters critics who want to oust Silver

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan).

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). Credit: AP, 2012

Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided some support Monday for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as he faces more cases of sexual harassment in his Democratic majority.

Cuomo said he didn’t agree with critics who have said replacing the longtime speaker after years of individual scandals was the best way to end the randy record in the Assembly.

“I don’t agree with that, but I don’t even know that that would get at it,” said Cuomo, also a Democrat. “I think you have to change the rules .?.?. as a recognition that you have to change the behavior.”

“I think he’s doing what he can on these cases,” Cuomo said of Silver (D-Manhattan).
Cuomo has gotten no response to his call for two recently accused assemblymen, Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga) and Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) to either proclaim their innocence or resign.

Silver was criticized in a 2013 state ethics report for approving a $103,000 secret settlement using public money to end the first of two sets of sexual harassment accusations against then-Assemb. Vito Lopez. Lopez has denied harassing anyone and has since resigned.

Silver has said he won’t do any more private settlements and strengthened the Assembly’s policies to investigate and discipline members.

“The public trust is eroded by this drip, drip, drip of bad acts, of scandal,” Cuomo said. “When you erode the public trust you erode the capacity of government.”

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