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Miner questioning Cuomo’s pension relief plan

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Miner questioning Cuomo’s pension relief plan
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It's a dispute over a new proposal to ease the pension costs facing local governments. A proposal the mayor of Syracuse doesn't like. YNN's Bill Carey says her criticism of the plan has caused a stir in the political worlds of both Syracuse and Albany.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It was a surprise in 2012 when Andrew Cuomo hand-picked Stephanie Miner to co-chair the state Democratic Party. Miner once worked for Cuomo's father, Mario, when he was Governor.

But Democratic Party insiders in Syracuse and Albany have long said her relationship with Andrew Cuomo has been less than warm. But any rift seemed to have healed.

But then came the Governor's budget address and the mayor's quick criticism of a pension relief plan that Cuomo said would save the city $12 million a year.

The Lieutenant Governor, who says without help, Syracuse may face the option of a financial control board, says he's perplexed by Miner's public attack.

“You can exercise your views publicly and air some frustration. The most important thing is work to get those things changed, productively, day to day, behind the scenes, if need be,” said Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy.

“A little disheartening that the Lieutenant Governor, who's a former mayor himself, had to travel up to Syracuse to, sort of, set our mayor straight,” Syracuse Common Councilor Patrick Hogan said.

Hogan is a democratic common councilor who's been considering a primary challenge against Miner. Her relationship with city lawmakers, all democrats, has been rocky.

“Certainly has battled with the council. You know, she battled the former school superintendent and the board of education. Now, I think she's picking a fight with someone who's a little out of her weight class,” Hogan said.

The war of words puts the republican Onondaga County Executive in a tight spot. She has nurtured a strong working relationship with the mayor and won special attention from Cuomo after crossing party lines to support his bid for Governor.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney applauds the governor, calling the pension deal another tool to help local governments, if they choose to take advantage of it. As for Miner?

“The mayor is in a very difficult spot. Her budget is a crisis for her. And she's tried to sound the alarm bells. And while this is helpful, if it doesn't go all the way there for her, I can understand the frustration. But I am surprised by the criticism because everything he has said he would do, he has done,” Mahoney said.

There is no word on any peace initiative to end the dispute.

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