By Post Editorial Board February 3, 2015 | 7:12pm
With Sheldon Silver out, the Albany air is now full of talk of “reform.”
But let’s put this in context: Even after the news that Shelly was under federal investigation, only two people out of 150 in the Assembly spoke out against his continuing as speaker during a roll call vote re-electing him that was itself followed by a standing ovation.
Then there’s Gov. Cuomo, now vowing to shut down the government if lawmakers don’t pass his reforms, which include requiring legislators to disclose their outside pay.
This wasn’t his stand a year ago, when he shut down the Moreland Commission as part of a budget deal. The commission was knee-capped as lawmakers were fighting its demands they disclose their outside income and clients.
The governor closed it in exchange for a tepid array of ethics “reforms” that didn’t go nearly as far as what the governor now tells us is necessary. Yet at the time he pronounced it a “satisfactory conclusion.”
Remember, too, that the same governor pitching reform is part of the “three men in a room” culture that circumvents democratic debate and process.
One of these men, Silver, is now gone because of US Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation and the other two, Cuomo and the GOP leader of the Senate, Dean Skelos, still appear to be targets.
At the heart of Albany’s scandal is the nation’s least deliberative body, the Assembly. A report by the Brennan Center for Justice found, for example, that assemblymen who sign in each morning are automatically counted as “yes” votes on any bill voted that day.
Helps explain an approval rate for legislation that comes up for a vote that roughly matches, as one wag put it, “the re-election margins for Fidel Castro.”
Albany’s big decisions are still being made in the back rooms. So count us as skeptical about the self-proclaimed reformers as we are about the accused crooks.