Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) told reporters this afternoon that Cuomo’s plan to expedite a new statewide teacher evaluation process does “absolutely nothing” to repeal the LIFO law governing teacher layoffs -- and that the Senate is prepared to include language repealing the law in its upcoming budget resolution.
“The next step is the budget process and we intend to put LIFO provisions within our Senate budget resolution and we would hope that eventually the Assembly agrees and the governor agrees,” Skelos said.
Mayor Bloomberg has been pleading with Cuomo to include such a provision in his 30-day budget amendments – which are due tomorrow – but the governor has so far expressed no interest in doing so. (UPDATE: The administration voices its displeasure in the memo at the end of this item... Read on!)
Skelos says Cuomo’s bill – announced Tuesday night - simply speeds up and expand a process that is already underway by the state Education Department to create an evaluation process for teachers. It does nothing, Skelos stressed, to help Bloomberg deal with the looming layoff of more than 4,600 teachers.
“It does nothing to repeal LIFO and does not deal with the layoff, the unique problem that Mayor Bloomberg has in New York City,” Skelos said.
Skelos also said it was “interesting” that Cuomo announced his plans just moments after the Senate passed the Bloomberg-backed bill that would have overturned the LIFO law for the city. That bill was sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan (R-Nassau County).
“He has to the right to put out a press release any time he wants to,” Skelos said. “But we passed a real bill to help the kids in New York City, to help the mayor work through the difficult choices that the city has to make in laying off teachers -- and if it happens we want to make sure those that have been committing crimes, that committed [felonies], that don’t show up for work, that have not been in the classroom for perhaps years, we want to make sure that they’re the ones that go first.”
Yesterday Flanagan said he was "open" to Cuomo's proposal.
Today Skelos says "No way - Repeal LIFO or Bust."
Interesting how quickly the Repubs dangle on Bloomberg's chain, isn't it?
In any case, since any LIFO repeal would have to make it through the Assembly, where Speaker Silver has already declared it dead on arrival, or get signed off on by Cuomo in the budget. Neither of those, at this time, seem likely, so it's hard to see the LIFO repeal happening now.
Maybe Bloomberg just has his shills ramping the rhetoric back up so when the repeal doesn't happen, he can blame Cuomo, Silver and the union when he goes ahead with the layoffs?
Or maybe this is a preliminary gambit to some additional surprise compromise?
With Moneybags and all his money, I am never surprised to see abrupt reversals and last second surprises.