Despite of a record victory, Governor-elect Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has to face a big problem: What do to with State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who was found guilty of violating state law by the State Ethics Commission. The NY Times speaks with people involved with Spitzer's discussions (they are anonymous, of course) about the matter:
“While a personally painful decision, it’s an easy decision because the facts are clear,” said one person with knowledge of the governor’s thinking on the issue. “What would the drive for greater accountability and a higher ethical standard mean if you tolerated that level of abuse? He will move swiftly and aggressively to remove him.
The source was referring to Spitzer's platform of trying to reform Albany. The Times also explains that Spitzer would probably ask the Republican-controlled State Senate to remove Hevesi, since it's unlikely the Democratic-controlled Assembly, with Hevesi supporters like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, would vote to impeach him. But if the Senate votes to remove Hevesi, he's probably be able to appeal the decision. There are many scenarios. If Hevesi resigns, the Legislature (controlled by the Democrats) could pick a successor. But if Spitzer removes him (via the Senate), then he gets to pick a successor.
Hevesi still contends that since he was re-elected with the public knowing that he used a state driver to chauffeur his sick wife (and apologized as well as paid back the state after the ethics report), he will stay in office for his full term. But, given what the Spitzer source told the Times, we have to wonder if Spitzer is trying to prepare the public for his decision - and pressure Hevesi into resigning. We wonder if Silver would ever try to convince Hevesi to step down, because that would give Silver a lot of influence in picking the next Comptroller.