Why did New York Governor David Paterson replace an MTA board member who's been a vocal critic of fare hikes and service cuts?

That's the question PIX 11's Greg Mocker put to Paterson on Thursday after it was revealed that Norman Seabrook was not reappointed to the board.

The Paterson-Mocker exchange:

Paterson: "We're looking for people who'll make the tough choices, even though they may not be popular they are ones that will hopefully spare the public authority as we are trying to spare the state from going into insolvency."

Mocker: "Hasn't [Seabrook] been one to do that? Don't raise the fares. Be more efficient."

Paterson: I'm not going to get into conversations about particular appointees. I'm not going to do that."

Mocker: "Why didn't you leave this to the next administration?"

Paterson: "We decided that I would pick one and the next Governor would pick the other."

Seabrook told Mocker he received a call from the MTA board liason saying he had been replaced. "It could have been because of my endorsement of another candidate. It could have been because I wasn't a yes man. It could have been a lot of things," he said. "I can go to bed at night knowing I fought for the people of this city and state."

Paterson replaced Seabrook on the MTA Board with Manhattan attorney Charles Moerdler.

"An improved, efficient and cost-effective mass transit system is essential if the New York Metropolitan area is to remain vital and energized. I hope I can make a significant contribution to the achievement of that goal," Moerdler said in a press release issued by his law firm.

Send Greg Mocker an email: mocker@wpix.com