Jan 1st - 12:09 pm
That was fast.
Jan 1st - 11:57 am
Newly-minted LG Bob Duffy gave an impromptu press gaggle after the Cuomo administration’s first cabinet meeting and pledged to continue to act as a champion of upstate interests in his new role – much as he did in his old job as mayor of Rochester.
Just before the three-minute mark in this video, Duffy tells a story of coming to Albany during his tenure as mayor to lobby for mandate relief and meet with an unnamed high-ranking official in a previous administration. Through the door, he heard said official “react with disgust” about having to see him, telling an aide to give him no more than three minutes.
Needless to say, Duffy was very upset, and he promised that would never happen while he’s in office.
He also declined to say who the official was, but did say that person isn’t in the Capitol at this moment and also wasn’t former Gov. Eliot Spitzer or Larry Schwartz. “I came away with a sense that sometimes there is a disconnect…This government has to work for the people.”
Duffy said that will all change when he and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are in charge.
Jan 1st - 11:31 am
The Republicans wasted no time in taking control of the official Senate Website, which now features a “welcome” letter from re-installed Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
In the letter, the Long Island lawmaker pledges to work “closely” with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Assembly to meet “the significant challenges that lie ahead.”
“The people’s priorities must be our priorities,” Skelos continues. “That means balancing the state budget, closing the deficit, easing the burden on taxpayers, and doing everything we can to strengthen our economy and create private sector jobs.”
This Website provides extensive access to a wide array of Senate proceedings and legislative information, and enables members of the public to watch Senate sessions and committee meetings live. ”
“You can also use this site to find your State Senator and contact him or her to voice your concerns and priorities, ask questions, make recommendations or discuss issues that are important to you, your family and your community.”
The Senate Democrats put a lot of cash and effort into the official Website after they took control of the chamber back in 2008. Many of those bells and whistles – including the “open Senate” feature that improved public access and participation – appear to still be functioning.
Jan 1st - 11:25 am
Things change quickly here at the Capitol.
The sign outside the first floor Senate conference room where YNN and NY1 are set up for our inauguration coverage has already been switched to recognize the change in command in the AG’s office – from now-Gov. Andrew Cuomo to his successor, AG Eric Schneiderman.
Oddly, the Interweb has yet to catch up to reflect the new regime. As of 11:25 a.m., the AG’s Web page still had Cuomo’s name on it.
Jan 1st - 11:16 am
Here’s the footage of the private swearing-in ceremony held at the executive mansion last night where LG Bob Duffy and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were administered the oath of office by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman as friends and family members looked on.
Cuomo was attended by his three daughters and his girlfriend Sandra Lee, who held the Bible.
The oaths were administered at 10:09 p.m., but Duffy and Cuomo didn’t officially take office until midnight. Cuomo’s press office sent out the following statement from the new governor at 10:24 p.m.:
“I am honored and humbled to accept this tremendous responsibility. The time has come to return integrity, performance, and dignity to New York and make it the Empire State once again. I look forward to getting to work right away for the people of our great state.”
Jan 1st - 10:08 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was all smiles as he entered the Capitol Red Room to meet with his cabinet for the first time.
“This is so exciting for me. I hope it is for you too. Its a great new beginning — at a time when the state desperately needs a great new beginning,” said Cuomo.
It’s unclear what was Gov. Cuomo and his cabinet members discussed as the video feed ended during his opening remarks.
Deputy Press Secretary Josh Vlasto briefed the media afterwards but also did not provide many details, suggesting the governor will lay out his agenda in his inauguration speech later this afternoon.
“The governor opened up with his vision to discuss not only what we’re going to be doing in the next couple days but in the weeks ahead, months ahead, and over the course of his term, but he spoke in specifics about policy initiatives coming up as well as planning for the State of the State.” said Vlasto.
Some members in attendance included Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy as well as Steve Cohen, Rich Bamberger, Paul Francis, Joe Percoco, Larry Schwartz, but notably absent was budget director Bob Megna. When asked why he wasn’t there, Vlasto simply said, “I’ll discuss that later.”
Dec 31st - 4:28 pm
Happy New Year’s, all!
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be sworn in this evening at the mansion around 10 p.m. and officially become the 56th governor of the Empire State at the stroke of midnight.
CapTon has a single showing tonight (8 p.m. only, no re-air) and there will be footage, compliments of the incoming administration, of the executive mansion swearing in around 10:30 p.m. or so. We’ll be back bright and early tomorrow with inauguration coverage.
Until then, be safe…and be well. Enjoy the tail end of 2010. It’s good to be home. – LB
Cuomo is starting work bright and early tomorrow.
Cuomo is the first unmarried governor since Hugh Carey.
EJ McMahon wonders where outgoing Gov. David Paterson has been on pension reform.
A last-minute settlement for AG Cuomo.
Is this the man to blame for the NYC blizzard debacle?
The 2010 election in 42 minutes.
Rep. Charlie Rangel defended Bloomberg’s blizzard response.
2011 predictions, compliments of Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker.
Roger Stone’s annual best/worst dressed list is out. (He says it’s getting “harder and harder” to compile).
No pardon for Billy the Kid.
Education headlines, a year in review.
Goodbye (and good luck!) Michael Scotto.
Dec 31st - 3:39 pm
Mayor Bloomberg has been bearing the brunt of the blame for the lackluster post-blizzard clean-up, but one state lawmaker thinks there’s more than enough of that to go around with a share belonging to outgoing Gov. David Paterson.
Assemblyman Bill Colton, a Brooklyn Democrat, said Paterson should have declared a state of emergency after the storm, following New Jersey’s lead, arguing that would have allowed for the mobilization of resources – from the National Guard, for example – to help the city with its sub-par snow removal effort.
“I think the governor clearly had a responsibility to, at the very minimum, call the mayor and say: Do you need help? Should we call a state of emergency? At the very minimum, the governor should have done that,” Colton told me during a brief telephone interview this afternoon.
“There should at least have been a discussion of whether it was needed.”
“The reality is the snow occurred a week ago and it would seem to be that he’s got to keep his hand on the helm of the ship.”
Colton, who was in a car during our interview, the situation “has improved considerably” in the city, although there are still streets in his district that haven’t yet been cleared. He said the mayor’s office – “once they started communicating with us” – has been responsive to constituent calls.
“But why did it take four or five days, that’s where the governor could have come in,” Colton reasoned. “There was a shortage of private vehicles for plowing. They didn’t have enough plows. If there had been a state of emergency declared, maybe we might have had more resources.”
During his weekly radio show with WOR’s John Gambling this morning, Bloomberg defended his decision not to call a snow emergency in NYC, arguing it could have actually worsened an already bad situation by forcing cars off the main streets and onto the already-clogged side streets.
Dec 31st - 2:49 pm
Pete Grannis didn’t last long in the private sector…just over two weeks, to be exact.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli just announced that the former DEC commissioner and assemblyman has accepted a job as first deputy comptroller, effective Jan. 20. He’ll be replacing Mary Louise Mallick, who has been given a new post as senior policy advisor.
As you’ll recall, Grannis was bounced from his DEC post by outgoing Gov. David Paterson. Well, actually, by Paterson’s top aide, Larry Schwartz, who accused Grannis of insubordination, among other things, in the wake of a leaked memo that criticized the administration’s planned staffing cuts at the agency.
Grannis then announced he would be working for Environmental Advocates as a special counsel. Apparently, that’s off.
“Pete Grannis has built a life-long reputation for vision, leadership, integrity and the ability to get things done,” DiNapoli said in a press release.
“We’re facing some of the toughest times in New York State history. Pete’s skills, leadership and expertise will help us face those challenges. New York is fortunate that Pete Grannis chose to continue his public service career with the Office of the State Comptroller.”
There had been some speculation that Mallick, a former GOP Senate Finance secretary, was in DiNapoli’s crosshairs when he asked for resignation letters from 15 top staffers following his close election to the statewide post he inherited from ex-Comptroller Alan Hevesi in February 2007.
As it turns out, Mallick is sticking around. A DiNapoli source refused to characterize this move as a demotion for Mallick, saying she is merely being given a “new assignment.” She’ll be making $162,000 in her new position. Grannis will be earning $165,000.
DiNapoli has been adding new staffers as he prepares to put his stamp on the office to which he has now been elected for the first time.
He has not always seen eye-to-eye with incoming Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and so will undoubtedly need all the help he can get – particularly if Cuomo tries a push to end the sole trusteeship of the state pension fund.
Dec 31st - 2:27 pm
The to-do list for incoming Gov. Andrew Cuomo is growing longer by the day.
The latest push comes from an unusual coalition of progressive labor interests, political (Democratic Party, that is) and environmental groups, health care interests and good government advocates who are urging Cuomo to enact a “voluntary” public campaign finance system early in the 2011 legislative session – one of the many camapign promises outlined in his “New New York Agenda” books.
The groups sent a pre-Christmas letter to Cuomo signed by everyone from the Working Families Party to Citizen Action to NYSUT, 1199 SEIU and several Moveon organizations. Upstate and downstate are represented, as are the usual goo-goo subjects – the Brennan Center, NYPIRG, Common Cause etc.
“It will take someone in your position, with your vision for a stronger, more democratic and transparent New York to lead the effort to truly clean up state government and change the culture in Albany,” the letter states.
“Like you, we agree that in order to truly give Albany a ‘clean bill of health,’ a system of public campaign finance along with other campaign finance reforms including lower contribution limits, closing loopholes and strong but fair enforcement, must be enacted.”
“For decades, our organizations have confronted a state government fraught with corruption as we advocated for changes in Albany. We know that the public interest would be better served if out elected officials were able to run for office using a system of public campaign finance like New York City’s.”
Of course, the trouble with public campaign financing is that it’s expensive – even a hybrid matching system like the one NYC has. That’s a heavy lift when the state is facing a $9 billion to $10 billion budget gap.
BUt when it comes to reforming Albany, the advocates have some powerful partners, not the least of which is the New York Times, which editorialized today that “the need for reform goes far beyond the budget” and urged Cuomo to “immediately – next week – introduce an omnibus ethics reform bill.”
The Times didn’t mention public financing, but did specifically cite the need for a nonpartisan independent redistricting commission.