ALBANY — A “mass exodus” is expected from the Cuomo administration after November’s election, according to several sources.
“They all want out,” one source said of top Cuomo staffers.
A former staffer who still has ties to the governor’s staff said the rush to leave has been spurred by a “miserable and micromanaged” work environment.
“You’re micromanaged to the point you can’t make a decision because only a select few people do,” said the ex-staffer.
“It’s not the work, it’s the model. It is secretive and clandestine.”
Sources said at least four key high-level staff members are talking about bailing if Cuomo wins a second term.
On Monday, Crains New York reported that the governor’s top aide, Director of State Operations Howard Glaser, will be packing up at the end of the legislative session in June to take a job in the real estate industry.
Getting out of the administration’s grasp is tough, ex-staffers say.
Those who express a desire to move on are “wooed” to stay — and if that doesn’t work, threats of reprisal are not uncommon, said a source.
“It is professional purgatory,” the source stated.
Former staffers recalled one unusual situation early in Cuomo’s term when a junior staffer up and quit by walking out of her office — without alerting anyone she wasn’t coming back.
After several days, senior Cuomo staffers became so concerned that they sent someone to her home to find out what happened.
One senior staffer who has already cut ties is former chief of staff Josh Vlasto.
Several people with knowledge of the situation say Vlasto wanted out last year, but had to work in the governor’s re-election campaign first so it didn’t look like he was bailing out. Now, in the extremely early stages of the campaign, Vlasto has left for a job at a major bank, Cuomo’s office confirmed.
Even more departures are in the cards. Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy is not expected to be on Cuomo’s ticket come November. When asked about who might replace him, neither Cuomo nor Duffy would comment.
Earlier this month, Health Commissioner Nirav Shah announced he was leaving for the private sector. Shah, who was put front and center in the hydrofracking debate, shouldered much of the criticism on behalf of the governor delaying a decision for three years on whether to allow digging in the Southern Tier’s lands for natural gas.
“There is a lot of disempowerment,” a second former staff member said of the turnover. “No money is worth it.”
According to state payroll records, since taking office in January 2011, at least 99 of 238 top staffers on the “executive payroll” are no longer receiving a check from that department.
When contacted about the high turnover, several current staff members said they did not want to talk, even on condition of anonymity. They did not deny the reports, but did say they were “scared” or “afraid of the consequences” of discussing the topic.
Can't say I have any sympathy for any member of the Cuomo administration, but I also can't say I'm all that surprised that Cuomo has created a nasty place to work, micromanages his employees or threatens people who want to leave with reprisals.
It's a classic abusive relationship Cuomo has with people who work for him - if this was a marriage, he'd be in jail for abuse.