It was William L. Marcy -- New York's own governor, senator and U.S. secretary of state -- who in the 1830s coined what has become an axiom of American politics: "To the victor belong the spoils of the enemy."
Since then, the "spoils system" has provided the foundation for patronage jobs that
accompany winning the executive branch of the federal, state and local governments. After Eliot L. Spitzer was elected governor of New York last November, hundreds --maybe thousands -- of jobs are expected to change with the new administration.
Spitzer, however, has promised to fairly evaluate applicants from all parties, and has even advertised for gubernatorial appointments around the state.
It will now be interesting to watch just how the new governor fills jobs large and small, with about 80 top-level posts under review in Western New York. Click here for that story.
--Robert J. McCarthy