In light of a potential backdoor maneuver that would disregard a joint legislative panel’s recommendations for State Comptroller, Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) has called for a vote to amend the State Constitution to allow the governor to appoint an interim comptroller until a special election can be held.
“It’s imperative that only the most qualified candidate is entrusted with the responsibilities of being the state’s chief fiscal officer,” remarked Fitzpatrick. “If this ever happens again, we need to remove backdoor politics from the process, and give voters the final say. The only way to do that is by mandating a special election.”
Fitzpatrick and Leader Jim Tedisco will propose legislation to amend the State Constitution, Article V, section 1, to provide that the governor fill a vacancy of the office of the comptroller and attorney general.
The amendment would require that in the case of a vacancy the governor would appoint an interim comptroller or attorney general who would only serve until the next general election. The person elected in the general election would then serve the remainder of the term. The office would then be up again in the same year as the gubernatorial election.
To amend the State Constitution, two separately elected State legislatures need to approve the legislation, and voters then need to approve it in a referendum.