A month before Andrew Cuomo was elected governor in 2010, his top aides met privately with two State Police officials and proposed systematically replacing members of the governor's protective unit, including more than a dozen black troopers who suspected they were removed to "adjust the racial balance" of the elite unit.
Two confidential State Police reports, and interviews with current and former State Police officials, confirm that the agency's Protective Services Unit, which is tasked with protecting the governor and lieutenant governor, underwent sweeping personnel changes in the three months before Cuomo, then the attorney general, was sworn in as governor.
During the unprecedented restructuring, which followed a series of scandals in the unit, the number of black troopers in the detail dropped 44 percent, while the number of Hispanic members decreased 25 percent.
"They weren't looking to keep minorities on the detail," said State Police Investigator Charlotte Francis, a 25-year veteran of the agency.
Francis, who is black, was among the minority members abruptly reassigned from the governor's detail without being told why, they said, and despite having successful employment histories. Francis filed a discrimination complaint with the state Division of Human Rights, and last year the state paid her $30,000 to settle her case just before it was scheduled for trial.
Cuomo's got a defender, of course an anonymous defender, saying Pateron had put too many minorities on the security contingent:
A high-ranking State Police official, who spoke on the condition of not being identified, said there was a perception that Paterson had infused the governor's detail with too many minority troopers, and that a series of scandals involving the State Police also prompted a need for change.
"There was no way that you could replace anybody in PSU and maintain the kind of (minority) numbers that existed at the end of the Paterson administration," the official said. "The reality is the State Police is probably 85 percent white. There was no way you could ever make up those numbers."
The truth is, Paterson and Spitzer had both used the state police for political ends and the detail probably did need to be re-ordered.
But considering Cuomo said as attorney general it shouldn't be done by the governor or his aides, then proceeded to have it done by his aides one month before he was elected, it smacks of hypocrisy.
Gee, Cuomo acting hypocritically - what a surprise.
And when you add in the numbers of the black and Hispanic troopers reassigned who are pissed about it, well, you have one more Cuomo scandal in what is now becoming a long litany of them.