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National Briefing / New York

Governor picks his lieutenant

July 09, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Gov. David Paterson shocked Albany and risked a constitutional fight by naming a crisis manager with Democratic credentials to fill the vacant lieutenant governor's post and end a monthlong state Senate stalemate.

But whether it will end what Paterson called the embarrassing spectacle over control of the chamber, or prolong it in the courts, was unknown.

Paterson chose Richard Ravitch, 76, as lieutenant governor, who can preside over the Senate and break at least some tie votes. The Senate is deadlocked 31 to 31 in a power struggle entering its fifth week.

It had been widely assumed since the 1940s that the largely ceremonial lieutenant governor's job could only be filled in a general election.

Ravitch intends to work for no compensation in the job, which normally pays $151,500 a year, the governor's office said.

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