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Despite corruption charges, Skelos remains in leadership post

WBFO News photo from video clip of Skelos

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who turned himself in to federal authorities on corruption charges Monday, will remain as the head of the Senate, his republican members announced after a more than three hour closed door meeting Monday night.

Senator Skelos, who is charged with monetizing his political position to enrich himself and his son in a bribery and extortion scheme, did not speak to the media.  Republican conference chair Ken LaValle, who like Skelos, is also from Long Island, spoke for the group.

“The leader has indicated he would like to remain as leader, and he has the support of the conference” said Lavalle. “The conference wants to get back working, starting tomorrow.”

Senator LaValle says he and the other Republicans believe in “presumption of innocence”.

LaValle says no vote was held on any possible successors to Skelos. He admits the agreement is not unanimous , though, instead describing it as a “strong consensus”.  

Earlier in the day  two Senators, John Bonacic of the Hudson Valley and Rich Funke of Rochester,  said that Skelos should step down as leader.

LaValle says in the remaining weeks of session, the Senate GOP will “focus” on issues including renewal of New York City’s rent laws, and changes to the controversial Common Core learning standards  and related standardized tests.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.