Larry Moss, the Democratic state commmitteeman for the 66th Assembly District on Manhattan’s West Side, is taking his removal Monday as chairman of the state committee’s reform caucus in stride.

“I am very cool with the reshuffling of leadership in the reform caucus,” he said of his loss to Sylvia Friedman, a Grammercy Park resident who is a committeewoman from the 73rd Assembly District.

Though defeated 27 to 11 among those reform caucus members on hand in Albany for a full meeting of the state committee, Moss was named vice chair for programs and issues.

“Sylvia and I were and remain very close,” he said. “She will be able to handle administrative issues, and I can focus on issues. I was always in the position of having trouble speaking up at meetings because I was chairing them. This allows me to be the intellectual engine for the party and for the caucus.”

The reform caucus has worked to shift Democratic state policy in a progressive direction and among Moss’ accomplishments during his six years in office were resolutions in favor of same-sex marriage and, prior to the invasion in Iraq, opposition to the Bush war plan.

The same-sex marriage question did not come up during the vote on Monday, according to reform caucus members in attendance. Of four openly gay and lesbian caucus members voting, one supported Moss, two voted against him, and one abstained.

Several caucus members, who insisted on anonymity, said that the vote to unseat Moss was based on dissatisfaction with his leadership style, particularly his willingness to share authority with other caucus members. There were no complaints in the caucus deliberation about his leadership on progressive issues.

“It was a vote for Sylvia,” emphasized Emily Giske, a Manhattan lesbian who as one of the state party’s vice chairs is an at-large member of the state committee. ”We kept Larry on as our issues guy. There was a clear consensus. Sylvia is a great progressive. She is an organized person. That seemed that’s what people wanted.”

—Paul Schindler

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