Albany – Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation following stunning
allegations that he had hired a prostitute – perhaps on several
occasions in recent years – won’t likely mean any dramatic shift
within DEC’s Bureau of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources.
That’s primarily because Lt. Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat who
becomes the first black governor in the history of the state, will
almost assuredly keep the bulk of Spitzer’s appointments – such as
DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis – in place, sources indicated.
Paterson was sworn just days after the shocking revelation that
Spitzer, whose political career had been built on rooting out
corruption, had engaged the services of a high-priced
Spitzer became caught up in a federal investigation into the
prostitution ring, a probe that actually began as a look into
suspicious movements of cash into several bank accounts operated by
the call-girl ring. There was no indication any public money was
used by Spitzer to hire the call girls, which investigators have
indicated occurred on several occasions over the past few
“I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have
been,” Spitzer said in announcing his resignation. “There is much
more to be done, and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt
the people’s work.”
Calls for Spitzer’s resignation came quickly after his initial
announcement that he had acted improperly.
“For the good of his family, for the good of our state, for the
good of the governorship, Eliot Spitzer must resign immediately. He
is unfit to lead our state and unfit to hold public office,” said
Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco of Schenectady County.
Tedisco indicated that Republicans would have launched
impeachment proceedings if Spitzer didn’t step down.
“I don’t think anyone remembers anything like this. The fact
that the governor has a reputation as a reformer and there is a
certain assumption as attorney general that you’re Caesar’s wife –
it’s a different element than if you were an accountant,”
Democratic Assemblyman John McEneny said.
Paterson, a former state senator from Manhattan who is legally
blind, is generally seen as more liberal than Spitzer but one who’s
more likely to compromise than the combative, hard-charging
“He’s somebody you can sit down at a table with and come to some
agreement,” Assemblyman James Bacalles, R-Corning, told the Elmira
Star-Gazette. “David has the ability. He comes from a minority
leadership in the Senate and has a pretty good relationship with
(Republican Senate Majority Leader) Joe Bruno. He can build
consensus a lot better than Spitzer can.”
DEC isn’t likely to see significant, if any, changes as Paterson
takes office, sources have indicated.
DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis was appointed to the post last
year, a move that generated controversy and concern among sportsmen
and women in the state. Critics cited his longtime record in the
state Assembly that included anti-trapping bills.
Grannis, however, has worked to allay those fears, and
indications are he’s slowing winning over the state’s hunters and
anglers. DEC recently announced a legislative push for a mentored
hunting program that would lower the state’s minimum hunting age
for big game from its current 16 to 14.
DEC spokesman Yancey Roy said Grannis had no comment on the