New York State Sen. John Flanagan (R – Suffolk County) will be the new Senate Majority Leader, according to reports, following the oust of former GOP conference president Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County), after Skelos and his son’s May 4 arrest on federal corruption charges.
Flanagan, 54, will reportedly hold a press conference in the GOP conference room next to the Senate chamber May 11 to confirm his appointment.
Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Flanagan won the position in a narrow poll over Sen John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) in a closed-door vote amongst Republicans.
The GOP holds 32 seats in the 63-seat Senate, and ultimately, 31 Republicans, plus Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with the GOP, voted in favor of Flanagan.
Sen. Tom Libous (R-Binghamton), was absent from the vote due to poor health.
Initially, Republicans stood in support of Skelos following he and his 32-year-old son’s arrest for extortion, fraud and bribe solicitation. However, by Monday morning, 10 Senate Republicans had called for him to step down from the post.
Skelos has not yet been indicted on the charges; however, the 67-year-old resigned, and also cast his vote in favor of Flanagan.
Skelos’ resignation comes after Democrats forced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, to resign in January, after he was federally charged with receiving nearly $4 million in kickbacks.
“Unfortunately, today is not a day for celebrations,” said Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers. “It is simply another reminder of the culture of corruption that has plagued Albany for too long, and must be addressed.”
The 2015 legislative session is scheduled to run until June 17.