Governor David Paterson formally introduced Richard Ravitch as the state's lieutenant governor today, after being secretly sworn in last night.
He said the impetus in making this assignment was the issue of succession in the event that something would happen to him.
"It will be a pleasure to work with someone with as much integrity and intelligence and purposefulness that David Paterson has," said Ravitch.
Although the former Metropolitan Transportation Authority could serve as a tiebreaker and a neutral leader in the deadlocked Senate, Paterson said a power-sharing agreement is still needed.
The governor said Ravitch's oath of office was filed last night with the state Secretary of State and approved just after 11:30 p.m.
Paterson claims that it is typical for the swearing-in ceremony to be held in private.
Republicans, unaware of the swearing-in, went to a Nassau County court around midnight and were issued a temporary restraining order, thinking it could prevent the swearing in, which the governor's press people said was scheduled for this morning at 11:30.
"We think that issue is now moot because at the moment the judge signed the order, the oath was already sworn," said Paterson. "Also, the judge was a Nassau County judge and the correct jurisdiction if you're going to sue any state official, is Albany."
Republicans claim the move is unconstitutional, a stance shared by Democratic State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
"The state's lawyer, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, legal scholars and even other elected officials in the governor's own party have said that he does not have an authority under the state Constitution to act as he did," said Republican State Senator Dean Skelos in a statement.
Ravitch, 75, is well-respected across the state and is credited with guiding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority through a fiscal crisis in the early 1980s as its chairman.
He said today that will serve until the end of their terms in 2010 and will not run that year.
The governor acknowledged yesterday that the move will likely end up in court, but he insisted it's in the state's best interests.
"From one day to the next, the Senate has befuddled us and confused us with, I think, the politics of deception," said the governor. "Where we need to place our focus on right now is why can't these 62 men and women go into the chamber, lay down their arguments, put down their excuses, lay down their weapons, and pass these vital pieces of legislation."
Democrats praised the move, and said they expect to begin passing bills with Ravitch present in the chamber as early as today. However, the governor said that Ravitch will not attend a session today.
The State Senate has been deadlocked since a June 8th coup by Republicans and two rogue Democrats to seize power from State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. State Senator Hiram Monserrate, one of the two Democrats involved in the takeover, returned his allegiance to the Democratic Party – tying up the legislative body 31-31.