Parrying questions about his pension position during an interview in Albany with Susan Arbetter of WCNY, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said “My position on pensions hasn’t changed.” He’d initially been asked about E.J. McMahon’s urging Cuomo to firm up his efforts to introduce a “defined-contribution” savings plan as an alternative to the current defined-benefit, or traditional, state pension -- which would save the state and municipalities billions.
Cuomo had said he was flexible like "Gumby" in negotiations on pension reform. McMahon, director of the conservative Empire Center for NYS Policy, wrote in Newsday's opinion pages, where he is a regular columnist: "Just what Albany needs: Another clay figurine."
Cuomo said that only in Albany would his "Gumby" reference be taken seriously. Later on this interview he stated:
“Now, then someone is saying a governor should put forth a position and say ‘you take my position exactly as it is,’ and if you have one of these extremist commentators like McMahon, saying that should be a governor’s position, that would be an unreasonable position and that would be a failed governor.”
Nobody remembers Cuomo branding McMahon an extremist last year when the latter, in his role for the Empire Center, a project of the Manhattan Institute, joined him and others for a news conference in support of the property-tax cap.