For taking an Assembly job, Albany press corps seeks to expel one of its own

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The Legislative Correspondents Association—the organization of journalists who cover state government in Albany—is looking to expel one of its members for taking a part-time job with the New York State Assembly.

A reader in Albany passed along this photo of the petition to "challenge the membership of Marc Gronich," the president of Statewide News Service, a wire service based at the Capitol.

The petition argues that holding a political job violates Article II, Section 3 of the organization's bylaws, which state: "Members shall refrain from any commercial, political or non-news activities that would reflect on the Association." A meeting was called for noon tomorrow to discuss the matter.

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Gronich is a fixture in the Albany scene, and has extensive experience on both sides of the politics-media divide. His first assignment was to interview Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and he also has years of experience as a "political operative and fund-raiser."

Three highly-respected Albany reporters have signed the petition: Casey Seiler, the bureau chief of the Times Union; Jimmy Vielkind, a reporter for the Times Union (and a former Observer colleague of mine); and Bill Hammond, a long-time Albany columnist with the Daily News.

The current president of the LCA, Glenn Blain of the Daily News, declined to comment about the situation. An email to Gronich was not immediately returned.

UPDATE: Gronich emails, "I will be given an opportunity to speak to the members of the LCA at Thursday's meeting.

"The LCA is a private organization. The matters before the organization should be kept private until such time as an appropriate official issues a formal statement. I urge everyone not to rush to judgement about the reasons behind my decision to do what I did. I did this to prove a point and will present my position Thursday at noon. I hope to convince my colleagues that I should not be booted from this Association.

"Stay tuned."