Schwartz To Replace Cohen As Top Cuomo Aide
Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced that Larry Schwartz, a Paterson administration holdover who has been serving as a senior advisor on the second floor, will be appointed secretary to the governor to replace Steve Cohen.
“Steve has served with dedication and distinction,” Cuomo said in a press release.
“Steve has been a critical member of a team that has produced results for the people of the State. He has been both a friend and advisor, and he will be missed.”
“It is an honor to have Larry Schwartz in the position of secretary. For the past six months, Larry has guided the new administration through both the budget and legislative process during one of the most successful legislative sessions in our history.”
“Larry has a wealth of experience in government and brings extraordinary character, intellect and dedication to this key position. I am gratified that Larry has agreed to continue with the administration.”
Cohen’s departure has been expected for some time – even as he was appointed by Cuomo back in January, insiders viewed him as a placeholder/short-timer. He has been with Cuomo since the governor’s AG days, and was one of a handful of Cuomo loyalists to follow him from the AG’s office to the Capitol’s second floor last winter.
This is something of a loss for Howard Glaser, Cuomo’s director of state operations, who was once seen as in line to take over for Cohen.
I assume this change is effective immediately. No date was given for Cohen’s last day. Nor did the press release indicate if Schwartz will be getting a salary bump, and who – if anyone – will be taking his current job.
UPDATE: A Cuomo spokesman says Cohen’s last day – and Schwartz’s first day in his new post – will be Monday, but he’ll be sticking around for a bit to assist with the transition. Still no word on the salary question.
Cohen is leaving on a high point. He spearheaded Cuomo’s successful push to legalize same-sex marriage along with another long-time Cuomo confidant, former SEIU/1199 political director/communications guru Jennifer Cunningham. (Cohen was the inside guy, while Cunningham, who is now at SKDKnickerbocker, was the outside strategist).
Schwartz’s ascention was predicted Monday by the TU’s Jim Odato, but it has been speculated in the Capitol hallways for weeks now.
Schwartz has long-standing ties to the Cuomo clan. In 1994, he was deputy campaign manager for former Gov. Mario Cuomo’s ill-fated campaign for a fourth term in which he was defeated by a little-known GOP state senator, George Pataki.
Schwartz served for years as a top aide to former Westchester County Executive
Nick Andy Spano, a Democrat (not related to the former GOP senator with the same last name) who was ousted in 2009 by Republican Rob Astorino is an upset election.
While in that post, he earned a reputation as a hard-charging and aggressive – yet savvy – insider who did not get along well with the local labor unions.
Schwartz took over as former Gov. David Paterson’s secretary following the short and unsuccessful tenure of Bill Cunningham, a former aide to ex-Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (also ousted in 2009 by a Republican) who took over after Paterson’s closest aide, Charles O’Byrne, resigned after it was revealed he had not paid his taxes.
Schwartz served as Cuomo’s point man during the transition period from his November 2010 win to his first day on the job in January 2011. But insiders believed Schwartz had actually been serving for months as Cuomo’s back-channel conduit/informant to the Patersoon administration.
Here’s the press release – in full – announcing the Schwartz-for-Cohen switch:
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF LARRY SCHWARTZ TO SERVE AS SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Steven M. Cohen, who has served as Secretary to the Governor since January 1, 2011, will be leaving the administration. Governor Cuomo announced that Larry Schwartz, who has been serving as Senior Advisor to the Governor, will be appointed Secretary to the Governor.
“Since becoming Attorney General in January 2007, Steve has served with dedication and distinction,” Governor Cuomo said. “Steve has been a critical member of a team that has produced results for the people of the State. He has been both a friend and advisor, and he will be missed.”
“It is an honor to have Larry Schwartz in the position of Secretary. For the past six months, Larry has guided the new administration through both the budget and legislative process during one of the most successful legislative sessions in our history. Larry has a wealth of experience in government and brings extraordinary character, intellect and dedication to this key position. I am gratified that Larry has agreed to continue with the Administration,” Governor Cuomo added.
Since January 1, 2011, Larry Schwartz has served as Senior Advisor to Governor Cuomo. Among other responsibilities, Mr. Schwartz was the principal negotiator of the 2011-12 budget, and was critical in the drafting and negotiating several major pieces of legislation, including the ethics law, property tax cap and NYSUNY 2020. Mr. Schwartz also serves as chair of the Governor’s mandate relief commission. Prior to joining the Cuomo Administration, Mr. Schwartz served as Secretary to Governor David Paterson. In that position, Mr. Schwartz negotiated on behalf of Governor Paterson key pieces of legislation including Tier V pension reform plan, and created the Office of Taxpayer Accountability and Empire State. Mr. Schwartz also served as Westchester Deputy County Executive, where he oversaw the day to day operations of the County government, and handled labor and budget negotiations. Mr. Schwartz graduated with a B.S. In Political Science from Binghamton University. He lives in Westchester with his wife Susan and daughter Carly.
Steven M. Cohen served as Secretary to the Governor from January 1, 2011. From January 1, 2007 until his appointment as Secretary, Mr. Cohen served as Counselor and Chief of Staff to then-Attorney General Cuomo. Mr. Cohen is expected to return to the private practice of law.
Steven M. Cohen said, “For four and a half years, it has been my honor and privilege to serve at the side of a truly extraordinary public official. First as Attorney General and then as Governor, I have witnessed Governor Cuomo transform New York State into a national model for competence, integrity and progressive leadership. I am proud to have served this Governor and grateful for the opportunity he gave me to serve the people of our State. I also leave knowing that the position I vacate is being filled with an exemplary public servant and true professional, Larry Schwartz.”
Larry Schwartz said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Governor Cuomo’s Secretary. The Governor has already demonstrated his ability to bring extraordinary transformation to Albany. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the entire staff to build on the work we have already started.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on July 8, 2011 at 10:06 am, and is filed under Albany, Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|