By Tom Precious
ALBANY – The governor said today he talks to mayors of cities in New York every day.
The last time he talked to Stephanie Miner, the Democratic mayor of Syracuse, the state’s fifth largest city?
“Mayor Miner I spoke to several months ago,’’ Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters in Oswego today.
Miner, the Cuomo hand-picked co-chair of the state Democratic Party, has been on the outs with the Cuomo administration since earlier this year when she went public with her view that a Cuomo plan to help localities “smooth’’ out their current pension obligations into the future was a mere gimmick. The governor has a reputation of not taking kindly to criticism -- an unfair characterization say his supporters -- especially from within his own party and especially from someone he appointed as a political leader to represent upstate Democrats in the party he controls.
The pension plan passed in the budget, though it was, fiscal watchdogs say, improved somewhat in the final weeks of talks that brought into the negotiating mix state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who is the sole trustee of the pension system for state and local government workers across New York.
As for Miner’s criticism that the pension plan is a kick-the-can idea to push off current fiscal problems facing localities for another day, Cuomo said, “I disagree, and so does the state Legislature that just passed it, Democratic and Republican, overwhelmingly.’’
When a reporter at the Oswego event noted that Cuomo has not been in Syracuse since October, the governor said he has been busy in Albany but that he is just now starting to get about the state more after passage of the budget.
Cuomo said many people disagreed with parts of his budget plan. Asked of his relationship with Miner, he said, “I’m fine.’’