Peter Wehrwein Staff writer
Section: MAIN,  Page: A1

Date: Monday, October 19, 1987

Four days after he shoved a New York Post reporter to the floor, the top political aide to Assembly Speaker Mel Miller resigned Sunday.

The written statement issued at noon in Albany said Miller accepted the resignation of the aide, Norman Adler, with "very deep regrets" after three days of conversations with Adler. Alder's resignation from the $79,500- a-year job that Miller created especially for him will become effective Dec. 31, the statement said. Until then Adler will work on "several assignments related to the administration of the Assembly," the statement said.

There was no explicit mention in the statement of the reasons for Adler's resignation or that he pushed down the reporter, Fredric Dicker, outside the offices of the House Operations Committee Thursday morning while a local television news crew and public radio station recorded the event.

After Dicker was knocked down, Adler could be heard on the television tape saying, "Do you want to protect your privates?"

Adler did not return two phone calls left on the answering machine of his Brooklyn home on Sunday. Miller's spokesman, Geoffrey Taylor, refused to comment beyond the words of the statement.

Dicker, one of the Capitol press corps' more high-profile and aggressive reporters, was reached by phone on Sunday at his Saratoga Lake home, but refused to speak to The Times Union.

"I didn't like the way you treated me the other day," he said of the paper's coverage of the shoving incident, adding that his comments about Adler's resignation could be taken "off the wires," a reference to the news services to which the newspaper subscribes.

Dicker, who gave interviews to several local television stations Sunday, told the Associated Press he had already decided not to pursue legal action against Adler before the resignation was announced.

Miller's statement said many members of the Democratic conference urged Adler to stay on, but Assemblyman Arthur J. Kremer, D-Long Branch, said it was "necessary" for Miller to accept Adler's resignation.

"I think the speaker had to get rid of the image that we had something to hide," said Kremer, who was Miller's chief rival for the speaker's post last year.

The 45-year-old Adler has been variously described as Miller's "political ace," his chief of staff and a close personal friend who lives just a few blocks away from Miller' house in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. In the statement Sunday, Miller said Adler had been a close friend for 15 years, a political ally "over the years," and the "architect of a number of my campaigns.

During the fierce political struggle last year among Assembly Democrats over who would become speaker, news stories at the time credited Adler with being a top organizer of the pro-Miller forces which ultimately succeeded.

Before working for Miller, Adler was the chief lobbyist for District Council 37, the powerful political employees' union in New York City, according to an Associated Press profile of him earlier this year.

Both praised and condemned for being a shrewd political player, Adler was quoted in the same profile as saying, "I guess I live by Bobby Kennedy's notion that you should forive your enemies but never forget their names.

"I guess I have the luxury of not being raised in the tradition of turning the other cheek."

Dicker, who covered the Capitol for five years for The Times Union before joining the Post, has written several stories in recent weeks about the House Operations Committee, including one carrying allegations the committee's employees were working full- time on political campaigns when they were on the committee's state-funded payroll.

His stories came at about the same time other news organizations reported Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman had subpoenaed records from the committee.

Dicker's visit Thursday morning to the committee's rented offices on the top floor of the 20-story Twin Towers building on Washington Avenue was unannounced.

From what can be seen on the television tape, Dicker followed Adler down a hallway, demanding to see the inside of the offices and find out if there was a sauna inside. Adler pushed Dicker and them shoved him to the floor, shouting louder and louder "With Geoff Taylor! With Geoff Taylor!"

A few moments earlier, Adler had read a written statement saying that "spontaneous access" to the committee's offices would not be allowed and that appointments to see them would have to be made "with Geoffrey Taylor," who is Miller's spokesman.

Later on Thursday, Miller issued a written statement apologizing to Dicker.

On Friday, Taylor gave The Times Union a copy of an Oct. 15 letter from the manager of the Twin Towers building. The letter said the sauna was removed from the 20th floor before the committee moved in during May of 1986.

According to the Associated Press, Taylor said on Sunday he expected Adler to continue to giving Miller political advice. He gave no information about Adler's specific duties until his resignation becomes effective at the end of the year or who his successor might be.