As the state legislature gets ready to interview candidates to fill the sudden vacancy in the state Attorney General’s office, they should probably think long and hard before replacing the new woman in charge, Barbara Underwood.

A legal eagle who’s argued 20 cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Underwood appears to be that behind-the-scenes person in the office who actually runs the office while her boss takes a public victory lap.

In an extended interview with NY1’s Josh Robin, it’s very clear that Underwood is only interested in holding the job until voters pick a replacement for Eric Schneiderman this November.

Until then, Underwood has the legal chops and the smarts to keep the AG’s office running. So why is the state legislature in a rush to put another person in charge who may just end up getting replaced next year?

It’s thought that Public Advocate Letitia James has the inside track to be appointed to a position where she would require on-the-job training. It makes more sense for Underwood run the office where she’s actually worked for years while James can acquaint herself with the Attorney General’s office and actually run for it on the campaign trail this summer.

In addition, appointing James to the job would create a major headache for city voters, creating as many as three elections for Public Advocate, a post that barely deserves one election every four years.

While political showboating is an important part of being Attorney General, it would be refreshing for the job to be briefly held by someone who is more interested in just getting the job done rather than advancing her own career.

Let’s keep the attorney general’s office in the hands of a real attorney for a few months and let the political games start on the campaign trail this summer. The last thing New York needs is another backroom deal in Albany.


Bob Hardt