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Of coffees, Cokes and quorums: More Albany inanity

The State Senate authorized $65 million in bonds yesterday for Nassau County's early-retirement program, possibly preventing hundreds of layoffs. Or did it? It all depends on what caffeinated beverage you believe a veteran Queens Republican drank yesterday. Absurd questions like this are preoccupying your duly elected state senators these days. If Sen. Frank Padavan was looking for coffee when he wandered into the Senate chamber - as he stated in an affidavit produced just hours later - he must have intended to be counted as "present" for the meeting. Because, get this, he left a room where coffee was being served! His brief presence gave Democrats, they believe, the all-important 32-member quorum needed to pass bills for hours afterward. In turn, they then adjourned and filled out affidavits of their own, swearing witness to Padavan's walk-through. But if he crossed the chamber to get a Coke instead, as he said at another point, all bets are off. These games around parliamentary procedures have so enthralled state senators that they are huddling in war-room-like clutches. Layoffs in Nassau? No power player is thinking in those terms. Albany has lost its grip on reality. hN


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