NEW YORK CITY — Sheldon Silver's plan to step back from his responsibilities as Assembly speaker is in jeopardy after Gov. Andrew Cuomo questioned the proposal and other leaders called for his resignation as speaker.
Silver, who has represented the Lower East Side and Downtown for decades, is not resigning from his post, but plans to step back from his speaker responsibilities temporarily, instead delegating them to a group of senior members in the wake of federal corruption charges.
Silver, 70, made the decision after receiving pressure from his fellow democrats to step down. The Assembly’s democratic caucus will meet to consider his unusual plan on Monday afternoon.
Cuomo, speaking at a press conference about tonight's impending blizzard, said he wasn't sure that the plan would work.
"Management by committee, I've never been a fan of. I've never seen it work well," said Cuomo. '"The distraction of what’s going on with the speaker, it hurts the functioning of government."
But Cuomo said he needed to hear the full details of the plan before making a decision. He did not call for Silver to step down.
Other politicians made it clear that Silver should step down as speaker.
"It's not time to step aside it's actually time to step down," Comptroller Scott Stringer said after a speech at the Association for a Better New York Monday morning.
While Silver deserves "due process," Stringer said "we need one leader in the Assembly, someone who can guide these budget negotiations."
Silver also lost support among some of his Assembly colleagues. Keith Wright, a senior Assembly member from Harlem, said it was time for Silver to step down so government could be "free of distraction and the stink of scandal."
"Based upon the extraordinarily disturbing events from last week, revelations and charges that will reverberate for months if not years to come, Sheldon Silver must resign as Speaker immediately," Wright said in a statement.
Wright is often listed as a possible candidate to replace Silver should he step down as speaker.
Silver was arrested on Jan. 22 for accepting nearly $4 million in bribes for over a decade and masking it as legitimate income from practicing law at personal injury firm Weitz & Luxenberg, federal prosecutors said.
Silver received $5.3 million from Weitz & Luxenberg, including $1.4 million salary for a no-show job, a $3.9 million in referral fees for asbestos cases that he did not work on, and scheming with a prominent Manhattan doctor Robert Taub to push patients to the firm in exchange for research money, court documents say.
He also received another $700,000 in referral fees from a real estate law firm in an alleged kickback scheme.
Information from witnesses and other state legislators who were under investigation sparked the initial federal investigation, prosecutors said.
Silver is currently fighting the charges and has said that he will be vindicated.
"I'm confident that after a full hearing and due process I will be vindicated of these charges," Silver said outside of the courtroom last Thursday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called Silver a "man of integrity" during a press conference following his arrest.
Also joining the calls for Silver to step down was Public Advocate Letitia James.
"As we learn more about his alleged financial improprieties, it is clearer than ever that Speaker Silver should vacate the speakership," she said in a statement.