Joseph N. Mondello came out on June 19th, & pretty much said not so fast! The State GOP Chairman threatened to start a through investigation into Gov. Spitzer’s nomination for MTA Chairman. Here is a press release about it courtesy of the New York Republican State Committee:
ALBANY, NY (06/19/07; 1551)(readMedia)– Republican State Chairman Joseph N. Mondello today questioned Governor Spitzer’s decision to nominate real estate mogul and campaign supporter Dale Hemmerdinger to chair the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and called for a thorough review of Mr. Hemmerdinger’s credentials and the process by which he was chosen for nomination.
“Last week, Dale Hemmerdinger opened his home to host a big money fundraiser for Governor Spitzer. This week, the Governor is nominating him to head the MTA when his mass transit experience appears to be limited to suggesting fee increases on hard working New Yorkers,” said Chairman Mondello. “Governor Spitzer appears to have instituted a brazen ‘pay to play’ culture in Albany that is disappointing and shocking to the people of New York State.”
Chairman Mondello called for a thorough and extensive review of Mr. Hemmerdinger’s qualifications for MTA Chairman. Mr. Hemmerdinger’s involvement with mass transit seems limited to his call for MTA fee hikes as Chair of the Citizens’ Budget Commission. Chairman Mondello also called for an investigation to determine if Mr. Hemmerdinger’s campaign support was linked to his proposed appointment.
“The MTA is a large, complex organization that needs an experienced professional, not simply a political supporter who fills the Governor’s pockets with campaign cash,” said Chairman Mondello. “Hard working New Yorkers who rely on mass transit do not need a wealthy campaign financier whose prime object is to dip into their wallets with increased fees any more than they need a Governor who seemingly trades critical government positions for campaign funds.”
Now here is an opinion about this situation courtesy of Second Ave Sagas:
When last we visted with H. Dale Hemmerdinger, he had just been nominated for the MTA chair position. Signing off last night, I figured that his nomination would sail through the confirmation process. Well, color me wrong.
The State GOP is threatening a thorough investigation into Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s appointee due to Hemmerdinger’s close ties with the Democratic party in New York. He and his wife are major Democratic donors and are buddies with the Spitzers.
“Last week, Dale Hemmerdinger opened his home to host a big money fund raiser for Governor Spitzer. This week, the Governor is nominating him to head the MTA when his mass transit experience appears to be limited to suggesting fee increases on hard working New Yorkers,” State GOP Chairman Joseph N. Mondello said in a statement. “Governor Spitzer appears to have instituted a brazen ‘pay to play’ culture in Albany that is disappointing and shocking to the people of New York State.”
Mondello noted that Hemmerdinger had been a lead fund raiser for the Spitzer campaign and wondered if the appointment served as political payback. He also questioned Hemmerdinger’s transportation experience, noting that Hemmerdinger’s lone run-in with public transit was as head of the MTA’s Citizens’ Budget Commission.
This reeks, of course, of politics. Clearly, Spitzer would appoint an ally to head up an agency that he would like to act as a friendly body in the New York political arena, and Mondello knows that as well as anyone else. There is also no small amount of irony in a GOP leader criticizing the Democrats for engaging in “pay to play” politics in Albany. Pot, meet kettle.
Furthermore, Hemmerdinger is the perfect person to head up the MTA as its chair. With CEO Elliot “Lee” Sander firmly entrenched as the transportation policy guru at the Authority, the MTA doesn’t need another transit wonk in a position of leadership. Rather, they need a successful businessman with financial acumen to guide the Authority through what promises to be a few tumultuous fiscal years.
The Republicans will spoil for a fight. But it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Hemmerdinger is a great choice for the job; just approve him.
Sounds like things are going to get very interesting! One does have to scratch their head at the timing of the nomination though. As much as I like Spitzer, it does not look good. How can you explain their being a big party hosted by Hemmerdinger & days letter a huge nomination? One would think the party was just an excuse to seal the deal.
Has any Governor had this much drama in his first few months of office? Every time I turn around Spitzer is in the news & it hasn’t been that good. I do hope he gets it together though as I am a big fan of his!