Sources say Governor Andrew Cuomo got an earful Tuesday morning from Assembly Democrats, who are angry over losing out on a legislative pay raise. Zack Fink filed the following report.
On Tuesday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo privately hosted Assembly Democrats at the Executive Mansion in Albany.
Sources inside say it got heated.
"People express themselves differently," said Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle. "I think there is emotion, but that's driven by passion. I think it's the passion to do well for their constituents and their districts and the state. The governor shares that passion, and we may disagree."
Democrats are angry at Cuomo for what they say was his interference with an independent legislative pay commission, which would have granted lawmakers their first raise since 1999.
The governor's appointees to the commission voted no to the raise last November. At Tuesday morning's breakfast, Democrats confronted Cuomo over why.
Assemblyman Joe Lentol was one of those who spoke up.
"I don't think I really want to discuss it, Zack. Just because it's painful to discuss," he said.
Asked for broad strokes, Lentol offered this:
"He's our Democratic governor, and I want to be his friend, and I want him to be my friend. But we need to have more respect for one another in order to do that," he said.
Multiple sources say Cuomo blamed everyone for the loss of a pay raise but himself. A transcript of the meeting shows that Cuomo even blamed his Senate colleagues, saying, "I worked with the Senate Democrats myself. I asked them to vote for it. They told me no."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie downplayed tensions with the governor.
"The one favorite subject that you guys like to bring up came up, but it wasn't the focus of the breakfast. It was about talking about how to move forward," Heastie said.
Cuomo has offered to meet with Assembly Democrats every couple of weeks going forward. Whether or not that actually happens remains to be seen.