Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- The night before her OpEd piece appeared in the New York Times, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner made a courtesy call to the Governor's office to let them know it was coming. She said it was not an easy call to make, but the news wasn't exactly a surprise.
"After all, if we are just saying we can't disagree with people on policies, that only one person has the right to say what a policy should be, then that's not democracy,” Mayor Miner said.
Days after testifying against the governor's budget proposal in Albany, Miner's OpEd piece went further, calling one idea a gimmick. Municipalities were left with high employee pension expenses after the market crumbled several years ago. To alleviate the current pressure on local budgets, Governor Cuomo wants to let municipalities borrow against savings that are expected in the future.
“In five years I am still going to be part of Syracuse and I care deeply about this community and I don't want to hamstring them with a debt that we may not be able to pay for,” Miner continued.
Miner's public resistance raises eyebrows because she's taking on a fellow democrat, a governor who appointed her to co-chair the State's Democratic Party.
Monday, a column in the New York Daily News suggested her co-chair seat and Miner's political career could be in trouble, quoting sources as saying: "A lot of people who know her think she'll be taken down at the knees, but they don't know how or when."
Publicly, the battle is presented as a spirited debate. The undertone infers a more personal conflict, with suggestions from Cuomo's camp that a finance control board may need to step in if Miner can't handle Syracuse's fiscal challenges. The mayor isn't flinching.
“To say that we have a tough problem and that if you don't like our short-term risky solution, then you can just have an un-elected board come in and take over your city I think that is a false choice. I've said that and I will continue to say it,” Miner said.
If the decision is left to her, Mayor Miner’s office said she doesn’t plan to resign as co-chair of the State Democratic Party. Rather, she sees herself staying in politics in some form for years to come.
Political analysts say her public disagreement with Governor Cuomo could burn a bridge that Syracuse may need in the future or it could gain respect with constituents if Miner has much higher political aspirations.
"I've been in politics my whole life. It's something I care deeply about. So, I can't imagine a life where I am not involved in one way or another. But, the beauty of the system we have is...there are lots of different ways to be involved."