Former Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, may be out of Albany for the first time in more than two decades, but his name has been buzzing around the Capitol this week as the rumored next commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
“It was hard for me not to laugh,” Saland told Gannett’s Albany Bureau today, explaining when he first heard yesterday about the rumors. “It comes as news to me. I’ve had no discussions with anybody.”
The rumor has gained enough steam that Saland’s former foe, Dutchess County legislator Joel Tyner, posted a blog item urging people to call to state lawmakers to reject Saland’s presumed imminent appointment.
To that, Saland offered a response to Tyner, a Democrat: “He’s given to fabricating things, and this is yet another example of his fertile imagination.”
Saland, 69, lost his re-election bid last November in large part because of his vote to legalize same-sex marriage in 2011. He was one of four Republicans to back the measure, which drew plaudits from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo has heaped praise on Saland, who was the 32nd critical vote to make the measure law. Cuomo even endorsed Saland, but Saland lost re-election in a three-way race to Democrat Terry Gipson.
Saland said he doesn’t know what his next career step will be. For now, he’s enjoying retirement. He put in for his retirement papers last month after 42 years of public service.
“I’m not quite sure what the future has in store for me,” Saland said. “I certainly would welcome the opportunity to find something meaningful and productive to engage in, but I haven’t really burdened myself with that at this point.”