Democrat suggests Giuliani head rebuilding effort as head of agency that owned trade center

Tuesday, October 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ When New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani leaves office, the state Legislature's leading Democrat would like to see him head the agency that owned the World Trade Center and oversee rebuilding the site.

In an interview with WROW-AM radio of Albany, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver suggested hiring Giuliani as head of the agency, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Silver said the appointment could be a good alternative to the Republican mayor's request to extend his term for three months.

``What's the magic of another three months?'' said Silver. ``The rebuilding of the trade center is going to take three, four, five, seven or eight years.''

Silver said Giuliani ``may very well be the appropriate guy'' to succeed Neil Levin as executive director of the Port Authority, which is jointly controlled by the governors of New Jersey and New York. Levin was lost in the Sept. 11 attacks that destroyed the trade center.

No decision has been made about what should be built at the trade center site.

Asked about Silver's comment, Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said, ``Right now the mayor is not focusing on politics, he's focusing on what needs to be done in New York City.''

Rae Hutton, a spokeswoman for acting New Jersey Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, said only that the governors would discuss selection of an executive director. New York Gov. George Pataki offered no immediate comment.

State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, a Republican ally of the mayor, called Silver's suggestion a ``great idea.''

Giuliani has said he wants a three-month extension to ease the transition of power in the aftermath of the attacks. His term is due to expire Dec. 31.

If he fails to get the extension, Giuliani has said he might seek to overturn a city term-limits law and run for a third term in November. A repeal of term limits, which would require action by the City Council or the state Legislature, is considered unlikely.

An extension of the mayor's term would also require legislative approval.

The Port Authority manages the region's three major airports, six interstate bridges and tunnels, the PATH trains linking New Jersey and New York City, and shipping piers. It lost more than 60 workers in the trade center attack.