Three Men in a Room: The Inside Story of Power And Betrayal in an American Statehouse
It might be a scene from a movie: three powerful and secretive men sit in a private corner of an exclusive New York club, imperiously making decisions that affect the lives of millions of people. But the scene takes place in Albany, New York, and the exclusive members are the governor, the senate majority leader, and the speaker of the assembly of the New York State legislature.
Three Men in a Room is an insider’s exposé of how one of the country’s largest and most powerful governments—with the fourth-largest budget, behind only the federal government’s, California’s, and Texas’s—has become a model of inefficient and undemocratic governance. Seymour Lachman ran the New York City Board of Education, taught political science, and was then elected to New York’s legislature. What he found when he arrived in the halls of the state senate was a Potemkin village of government where legislators vote on bills they haven’t read during legislative sessions they haven’t attended. After four terms, Lachman left his safe seat in disgust, and has now written this sharp, mordant, and impassioned call for reform.
Although Lachman’s story takes place in one of the country’s most progressive states, the problems described in this book are rampant in statehouses throughout the country.