It’s been 45 days since Gov. Kathy Hochul took office and promised major changes to her administration.
Hochul pledged that by this time, she will have replaced anyone who was named in the attorney general’s report which detailed sexual harassment allegations against former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
While she has cleaned house on certain appointments, people like State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy says she hasn’t gone far enough, particularly when it comes to rooting out those in the administration who took part in Cuomo’s alleged cover-up of COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
“Kathy Hochul should have offered a full, outside and independent investigation into the entire administration to identify and root out anyone that enabled this deadly nursing home cover-up,” Langworthy said.
But Hochul has made steps to clear at least some from top positions.
There is a list of former Cuomo appointees who have already left office or are in the process of being replaced.
This includes the State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, MTA board member Larry Schwartz and others.
Schwartz, however, will not be leaving his position until at the earliest January, since the Senate has to confirm the new appointment.
In a statement, Hochul’s office said, in part, “To ensure that the MTA Board is accountable to riders and represents the voices of New Yorkers, our administration will be soliciting input from advocates, impacted communities and experts on candidates to fill the open seats on the board, and we look forward to working with the legislature to confirm those appointments at the next legislative session and deliver the modernization, reliability and enhancements New Yorkers deserve.”
“You need some Senate appointments,” Langworthy questioned. “Well damn it, then bring the Senate back and make some appointments. It's called leadership. Are you afraid of the Senate?”
Two members from the Public Service Commission, who were appointed by Cuomo, were also asked to resign by the Hochul administration, yet they refused.
John Maggiore and John Howard were appointed by Cuomo before he resigned amid numerous sexual harassment allegations.
Maggiore was named in the attorney general’s report as denying hearing the former governor ask former aide Lindsey Boylan about playing strip poker aboard the state’s plane. Boylan was the first woman to come forward accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Maggiore said in a statement, “I intend to serve my term and uphold my oath of office.”
Maggiore’s term expires in 2027 and Howard’s in 2024, which means it could be difficult for the Hochul administration to force either one out.
Howard was not named in the report and told Politico in an interview that he takes his role as an independent member of the commission “very seriously.” https://t.co/wQrRdavK8V?amp=1
“I’ve worked decades to get the skills to do this job,” Howard said to Politico.
A few familiar faces will be staying on, including State Budget Director Robert Mujica.
Mujica served as Andrew Cuomo’s budget director since 2015 and previously worked as the fiscal director for Republicans when they controlled the state Senate.
In a statement, a spokesperson wrote, “We are retaining a number of public servants who have demonstrated a commitment to the governor’s agenda, and we look forward to working with our top tier team to deliver results for New Yorkers.”
Mujica was not named in the attorney general report and is respected by many on both sides of the aisle.
But some say he was still too close to Cuomo’s inner circle.
Michael Kink, executive director of Strong Economy for All Coalition, says Mujica was someone who pushed back against raising taxes on the wealthy.
“He was blocking that for years,” Kink said. “I think New York needs to move in a different direction. And when voters next year have the opportunity in the primary to choose between different gubernatorial candidates, economic policies can be a big issue.”