ALBANY—In a legally questionable move that is likely to bring a challenge, David Paterson named former M.T.A. chairman Richard Ravitch as his lieutenant governor in a live address Wednesday evening, hoping to break the deadlock in the State Senate.
"The Senate is paralyzed, there is no presiding officer," Paterson said. "I have selected Richard Ravitch, the former chair of the M.T.A. and the Urban Development Corporation."
"He will not be a candidate thereafter," Paterson said. "I have come to seek your support for my unprecedented decision."
Ravitch's selection immediately drew praise.
"He's a congestion buster, definitely," said Neysa Pranger of the Regional Plan Association, who worked with Ravitch to craft a bailout for the authority earlier this year. "Having seen him work firsthand in M.T.A. negotiations, he's forceful and respected and I'm sure he would find a way to forge an agreement. He's been a backroom negotiator his whole life."