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Party Hacks Still Wait for Career Day

Spitzer’s distaste for patronage has left Pataki’s people in place.

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As Eliot Spitzer approaches the end of a wildly tumultuous year in office as governor, many loyal Dems are wondering where the cushy jobs are. The governor has yet to replace many of the rank-and-file workers hired by George Pataki. “It’s really crazy, the day-to-day people running his administration are Pataki Republicans—it’s no wonder he’s having such a hard time getting anything done,” says one politico who worked for Spitzer when he was AG. While the idea of doling out patronage doesn’t jibe with Spitzer’s reformer image, there’s a reason why it’s an Albany tradition: By hiring the relatives of party hacks, you ensure the loyalty of the Legislature. “Many big Dems do think Eliot needs to give Dems patronage jobs. Eliot doesn’t believe in giving unqualified people jobs,” one administration source says. “He simply won’t do it—even if its good for politics.” But isn’t good politics what you need to get good policy? One Dem consultant concludes, “If there’s one thing Eliot’s learned in his first year, it’s that he’s not as special as he thought he was. Albany changes for nobody.”

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