Inauguration braves winter's chill

Governor-elect plans outdoor ceremony Jan. 1; no word on whether Hevesi will attend

ELIZABETH BENJAMIN Capitol bureau
Section: Main,  Page: A3

Date: Friday, December 8, 2006

Correction: Correction published December 12, 2006 An article on Friday's Empire State page had the wrong Internet address for the Web site on which people can make reservations for Jan. 1 gubernatorial inauguration events. The correct address is: http://www.inaugurationny.org. People also can call (212) 370-7755.

ALBANY - Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer unveiled his inauguration plans Thursday, outlining an event far more low-key than Gov. George Pataki's 1994 extravaganza.


Spitzer will be formally sworn in at a private ceremony at the Executive Mansion on Dec. 31. Attorney General-elect Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov.-elect David Paterson also will take part. Asked whether the event will include embattled state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson said that detail hasn't been addressed. Hevesi is embroiled in an ethics scandal over his use of a state employee for several years to chauffeur his wife, and could face removal proceedings in the Senate.


A ceremonial swearing-in will be held at noon Jan. 1 in West Capitol Park. Spitzer aides said it is the first outdoor inauguration in state history. They expect as many as 15,000 people will attend some part of the festivities.


The New Year's Day swearing-in will be followed by a host of free events in and around the Capitol. The idea, Spitzer said, is to have "a people's inaugural with access that is as broad-based as possible."


The fact that it tends to be fairly cold in Albany in January will make this "the first test of people's hardiness and willingness to participate in the rigors of government as we envision it in New York," he said.


The events will be funded with some of the $5.5 million Spitzer has left in his campaign committee. Saying bids were still coming in for some things, Spitzer was reluctant to immediately put a price tag on the inauguration, but promised "complete transparency." The costs should be reflected in his campaign's required Jan. 15 financial filing with the state Board of Elections.


In 1994, Pataki raised about $2.2 million - much of it from people who did business with the state, or wanted to - to pay for his transition and inauguration. He wouldn't release donors' names until Assembly Democrats sued in court, and won.





Elizabeth Benjamin can be reached at 454-5081 or by e-mail at ebenjamin@timesunion.com.





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`A People's Inaugural'Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer plans a day of public events in Albany on Jan. 1 to mark his first day in office, including: 6 a.m.: Run by the new governor in Washington Park. Noon: Ceremonial swearing-in in West Capitol Park. 1:30-3:30 p.m.: A public receiving line hosted by Spitzer and his wife, Silda Wall, at the Executive Mansion. Lt. Gov.-elect David Paterson and his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, will also host a receiving line at a yet to be determined site. 1-5 p.m.: Reception on the Empire State Plaza concourse featuring food from around the state; performances by cast members of the Broadway show ``Wicked'' and Rochester's Garth Fagan Dance Company; tours of the Capitol and State Museum, and ice skating on the plaza rink. 5 p.m.: Concert at the newly renamed Times Union Center featuring James Taylor, Natalie Merchant and children's performer Dan Zanes. RESERVATIONS: Members of the public are asked to reserve tickets to certain inaugural events, including the concert. On Dec. 11, a Web site (http://www. inaugurationny.com) will launch for tickets and information. People also can call (212) 370-7755.