There are reports tonight that Sheldon Silver is temporarily relinquishing his leadership duties. The Assembly Speaker and Lower East Side representative was charged on Thursday in a federal corruption case. According to Jimmy Viekind at Capital, Silver plans to hand over power to five Assembly members:
The group would include majority leader Joe Morelle of Rochester, as well as Denny Farrell of Harlem, Joe Lentol of Brooklyn, Cathy Nolan of Queens and Carl Heastie of the Bronx… One of the people briefed on the deal said it remained to be seen whether Silver would formally relinquish his title or simply cede powers and duties… It’s unclear which member would be responsible for what duties. Each of the sources described the arrangement as temporary, with Silver retaining the option to reassume his powers.
The Daily News added:
The five-head setup is unique for a chamber that Silver controlled with an iron fist the past two decades. Silver is expected to address his members Monday — weather permitting — before likely holding a press conference with the new leadership team.
And the New York Times with some context:
Immediately after Mr. Silver’s arrest, Democrats in the Assembly rallied behind him, and Mr. Silver predicted he would be vindicated. But in the days that followed, as legislators conferred with one another and newspaper editorials called for Mr. Silver’s resignation, some members of his caucus grew convinced that he could not continue to be effective in his post with the cloud of scandal hanging over him.
However, responding to a version of the story on the Observer’s website, Silver press secretary Mike Whyland went on twitter a few moments ago to say:
@ObserverPols This is incorrect. The Speaker is not stepping down.
— Mike Whyland (@mwhyland) January 26, 2015
Jimmy Viekind has a bit more in the way of explanation:
Sheldon Silver “is not stepping down,” his spokesman e-mails, but “appointing a senior grp of members to undertake various responsibilities”
— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) January 26, 2015