Sunday, December 24, 2006


Newsday Editorial

Resolution to a scandal

Plea deal for disgraced Hevesi is fair; DiNapoli should get comptroller post

December 24, 2006Chauffeurgate is closed, and that couldn't have come sooner for the state and the man at the center of the scandal. Ending an otherwise stellar career, and sparing everyone the sad spectacle of a criminal trial, State Comptroller Alan Hevesi finally did the right thing yesterday by pleading guilty to a single felony in exchange for no prison time. Hevesi admitted in an Albany courtroom that he never intended to reimburse the state when he assigned state employees, at a cost of more than $200,000, to drive and perform other services for his ailing wife.Now, with the inauguration next week of a new governor, Eliot Spitzer, the state can move more cleanly into a new era. In the wake of Hevesi's fall in disgrace, the next comptroller must above all personify integrity. And while political experience isn't always a plus, the nature of the job argues for someone with both a clear moral compass and a strong understanding of state and local issues.That's why we would love to see Assemb. Thomas DiNapoli (D-Great Neck) be tapped by Spitzer and state lawmakers. Although Spitzer is said to prefer someone with minimal ties to Albany, DiNapoli's record of transcending the corrupt and partisan culture of dysfunction makes him an especially good choice to be the fiscal watchdog. For his unassuming style and superb accomplishments, for his integrity, intelligence and bipartisanship, DiNapoli is respected inside and outside Albany. That he is not from New York City, where Hevesi and the new statewide officials reside, is another plus.Albany District Attorney David Soares, elected last year as an anti-corruption insurgent, conducted a thorough probe of the Hevesi scandal and extracted a fair plea. Hevesi's public career is over. He has reimbursed the state. And New Yorkers will be spared the uncertainty and circus of a trial.Democrats have a majority when the two houses vote together. So they will make the decision. Whomever they choose for this crucial post, they should do it soon.

Tom is the best choice to replace Hevesi.......he is such a class of the rare political "good guys"............come on Spitzer and the right thing here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nice guys can finish first...............andy

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