Gov. Andrew Cuomo held his first press conference in Albany in six months, weighing in on whether there could be a special legislative session this month. He also raised the possibility that he will be called as a witness in a federal corruption probe of a former top aide. State House Reporter Zack Fink filed the following report.
Albany press conferences used to be a regular occurrence for Gov. Cuomo, but before Thursday his last one goes all the way back to June.
Cuomo was asked about prospects for a special legislative session. Lawmakers are looking to vote themselves a pay raise, which they haven't had since 1999.
The governor says he wants other issues addressed if the legislature comes back to vote, including procurement reform on state contracts.
"I understand their point: they haven't had a raise in 17 years. That's a long time," Cuomo said. "I think the people of the state want to see performance for the raise, right?"
The governor has also been getting pressure to unite State Senate Democrats, who appear to have enough votes to control the Senate chamber, but infighting and other factors have led to a coalition between breakaway Democrats and Republicans to form the majority.
"They have tensions and personal animus and factions that pre-date my election that have nothing to do with me," Cuomo said. "And they are going to have to work that out themselves."
In September, eight people were arrested on federal corruption charges, including Cuomo's former longtime aide and close friend Joe Percoco.
One of the defendants is cooperating with prosecutors and the rest are expected to stand trial.
Cuomo says he spoke with prosecutors at the time of the arrests and could even be called as a witness.
"It could be. I don't envision it, and no one has suggested that," Cuomo said. "I think the question would be more — it's up to the nine defendants who they call in their defense."
There is still no word on when a special session would take place. Lawmakers could be back in Albany as early as next week, but so far no plans have been announced. It's also possible it may not happen at all.