Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Spitzer Appoints Republican to Security Post

New York Times DANNY HAKIM

One more blow to the Republican Party.........Balboni's district is ripe for a democratic take over........Mondello has his work cut out for him.........Balboni has always been very ambitious..constantly looking for something better....perhaps this is a way for Mondello to put Balboni on ice for awhile??? get rid of the "younger" competition in his own backyard???? andy

ALBANY, Dec. 26 — Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer today named State Senator Michael L. Balboni, a Nassau County Republican, to be his top homeland security official.
The move was seen as a political coup for Mr. Spitzer, who added to the bipartisan luster of his cabinet while also reducing the slim majority
Republicans hold in the Senate. Because registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in Mr. Balboni’s district, it may be difficult for his party to retain his Senate seat. After Republicans lost a Westchester County Senate seat in November, they hold a 34-28 majority in the chamber. Their number will fall to 33 after Mr. Balboni vacates his seat, loosening the party’s grip on its last statewide power base.
Senate Republicans have been in turmoil this month after their top member, Majority Leader
Joseph L. Bruno, disclosed that federal authorities have been investigating his outside consulting business for several months.
Under New York law, a governor can call a special election, which then takes place at least 30 days but no more than 40 days later.
Mr. Balboni, 47, will have the title of deputy secretary for public safety security, which was described in a news release issued by the Spitzer administration as the “senior security and law enforcement official.”
“We spoke to many people, Senator Balboni included, and it increasingly became clear to us that his counsel, his wisdom, his thinking in this area was what we were looking for,” Mr. Spitzer said at a news conference today.
“The fact that I happen to be appointing a Republican, it is an act of bipartisanship, nonpartisanship,” he said, adding, “This is not part of any other ulterior scheme.”
Mr. Balboni has been one of the Legislature’s most active voice on homeland security issues and chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. He is also a senior fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute at
George Washington University and co-chairman of a homeland security task force organized by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“If there is any job in government that I would have wanted, it’s this one,” Mr. Balboni said at the news conference, where he appeared with Mr. Spitzer and Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, who is the lieutenant governor-elect.
Asked what his priorities will be, Mr. Balboni cited communication with neighboring states, intelligence sharing and enhancement of rail security.
Mr. Balboni was also asked about Mr. Bruno; senators will vote to re-elect Mr. Bruno as temporary president of the Senate when they return to Albany early next month.
“I am going to support Joe Bruno for re-election,” Mr. Balboni said, adding: “He deserves the benefit of the doubt to be innocent until proven guilty. Going forward, I think that’s going to be his issue, his struggle, challenge.”
In a statement, Mr. Bruno said, “We will miss him in his role as a senator, but we look forward to working with him and the new administration on homeland security and other public safety issues.”

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