Hochul launching purge of Cuomo cronies from Albany: sources
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has launched a purge of company heads and different officers appointed by her disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo — with a minimum of 9 bureaucrats both resigning or being informed they’ll be out of a job throughout the subsequent few days, sources informed The Publish on Friday night time.
Topping the checklist of exits is Michael Hein, the previous Ulster County Govt who was tapped by Cuomo in 2019 to supervise the state Workplace of Momentary and Incapacity Help.
On the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hein was put in control of the regional management room for the Hudson Valley, monitoring key well being metrics because the state tentatively reopened in summer time 2020.
In latest months, Hein was purported to oversee the distribution of $2.6 billion in federal funding to assist tenants pay again hire and utility payments. He was criticized for failing handy out the cash quick sufficient.
On Aug. 10, the day Cuomo introduced his resignation, Hein admitted to lawmakers at an Meeting listening to that he had by no means spoken to the then-governor about this system, which was created by Congress originally of this 12 months.
Different officers headed for the door, in line with sources, embody: Dr. Theodore Kastner, commissioner of the state Workplace for Folks With Developmental Disabilities; Arlene González-Sánchez, head of the Workplace of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers; Kenneth Theobalds, chair of the New York State Insurance coverage Fund; Human Rights Division Commissioner Licha Nyiendo; Deputy Secretary for Normal Authorities and Know-how Molly Reilly; Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights and Workforce Debra Alligood White; Director of Hashish Program Norman Birenbaum; and Deputy Secretary for Public Security Jeremy Shockett.
The shake-up in Albany started hours after the Friday announcement that Amit Singh Bagga, who unsuccessfully sought to symbolize the 26th Metropolis Council District earlier this 12 months, had been appointed Hochul’s deputy secretary for intergovernmental affairs.
It additionally comes sooner or later after Hochul introduced that state Well being Commissioner Howard Zucker would step down from his submit as quickly as a substitute might be discovered.
Zucker, who had been in his place since 2015, was accused by critics of serving to Cuomo reduce and disguise the horrible toll of COVID-19 in nursing houses throughout the state. It was he who issued the notorious March 2020 order that required nursing houses to just accept coronavirus-positive residents coming back from hospitals, supplied they weren’t critically sick. Zucker additionally barred nursing houses from testing the returning residents for the virus
That order was quietly withdrawn in Could of final 12 months, however members of the family of those that died in long-term care amenities stated the harm had been carried out by then.
Underneath Zucker’s watch, the Well being Division supplied incomplete tallies of coronavirus loss of life counts from nursing houses for months, by refusing to launch the tallies of residents who later died in nursing houses. The Cuomo administration solely launched the whole figures after state Legal professional Normal Letitia James launched a report saying the Well being Division’s depend seemingly understated COVID-linked deaths at nursing residence amenities by 50 p.c.
Zucker’s incomplete counts obscured the connection between 1,900 COVID deaths and nursing houses in New York Metropolis alone.
When Hochul first took workplace in August, she declared she would have a 45-day window to evaluate which state staff she would preserve or change from the previous administration.
Hochul stated she is New York’s “primary recruiter” Friday chatting with enterprise leaders in upstate-based Bolton Touchdown, noting she’s actively searching for two candidates for high positions. In the meantime, she has additionally introduced key appointments during the last a number of weeks.
A consultant for Hochul declined to touch upon the departures when reached by The Publish.