UPDATE 1-NY Gov to name Lt Gov despite legal concerns

Wed Jul 8, 2009 4:47pm EDT

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By Joan Gralla

NEW YORK, July 8 (Reuters) - New York Governor David Paterson plans to name a new lieutenant governor during a television address planned for later on Wednesday, an administration official said.

The list of possible appointees to the position includes Richard Ravitch, who previously chaired the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to an Albany source familiar with the issues. Ravitch crafted a financial bailout plan for the mass transit agency for Paterson,

Other names that have surfaced on blogs and been cited by political analysts include: Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who helped lead a state-wide property tax relief commission, and Syracuse Democratic Mayor Matthew Driscoll, who might help Paterson win upstate votes.

By appointing a lieutenant governor, Paterson, a Democrat, could break a five-week leadership brawl in the state senate, which has not been able to enact any bills. The new lieutenant governor could preside over its extraordinary sessions.

The televised speech was scheduled for 5:01 p.m. EDT.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, has said New York state's constitution does not allow its governors to name lieutenant governors when the post becomes vacant.

New York has not had a lieutenant governor since Paterson, who was elected to that position, replaced former Governor Eliot Spitzer after he resigned amid a prostitution scandal.

Cuomo, a possible gubernatorial candidate who leads Paterson in opinion polls, spurned an analysis of state law by New York University School of Law's Brennan Center of Justice that found governors could name their successors. For details, please click on: [ID:nN06642168].

The failure of New York's warring Republican and Democratic senators has imperiled billions of dollars of federal stimulus aid and routine tax collections by counties, cities and towns around the state.

Paterson's low approval ratings in recent polls heighten the risk of selecting a lieutenant governor who might compete in the next governor's race in 2010, political analysts say.

(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Flood Morrow in Albany)

(Reporting by Joan Gralla in New York; editing by Dan Grebler)

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