ALBANY — Two days before Sen. Jeff Klein abandoned a power-sharing agreement with the Senate’s Republican majority to return to the Democratic fold, he collected $25,000 for a leadership stipend from the Republicans.
Klein received the money on April 2 for his role as vice president pro tempore. It was the final payment of a total $34,000 annual stipend for the leadership position provided by the Republicans to help them maintain their narrow majority.
On April 4, Klein announced the Independent Democratic Conference he founded and led would end its seven-year alliance with the Republicans. On Tuesday Klein will rejoin the Democratic minority as deputy minority leader. That will include $20,500 stipend for this year.
Senate rules require that 25 percent of a leadership stipend be provided between January and before the state budget is adopted by April 1. The rules state the final 75 percent be paid after the budget is adopted, which was March 30.
“For some reason, the Republicans developed the system when they were in the majority,” Klein told Newsday Monday. “. . . it was money for serving in that capacity the previous year.”
There was no immediate comment from the Senate Republicans, although a spokesman confirmed the payment.
Legislators receive a base pay of $79,500 plus leadership stipends and per diem payments for working in Albany.