ALBANY, N.Y. — A minimum of two high aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are leaving his workplace as the governor faces allegations of sexual harassment from former aides and a federal probe into his administration’s dealing with of nursing residence deaths.
Gareth Rhodes, a senior adviser who grew to become a well-recognized face at Cuomo’s briefings over the previous yr and has been a outstanding determine within the state’s vaccination rollout, confirmed his departure in an announcement to POLITICO.
“Final week as I approached one yr since shifting to Albany to hitch the NYS Covid activity drive, I made a decision it was time, given the progress of the vaccination program and continued decline of Covid numbers, to return to my earlier function on the Division of Monetary Providers and I knowledgeable the Governor’s senior employees on the time,” Rhodes stated.
Rhodes has been within the Cuomo administration in numerous capacities since 2011. Previous to becoming a member of Cuomo’s Covid-19 activity drive final yr, he was particular counsel to the superintendent of the New York State Division of Monetary Providers in New York and Albany.
First deputy press secretary Will Burns, who has been with the administration for about three years, additionally advised the governor’s workplace this weekend he would go away the chief chamber.
These departures are simply two of at the very least six which were submitted amongst government chamber employees inside the previous week, a few of which have been within the works earlier than the allegations towards the governor emerged final week, in accordance two folks acquainted the strikes. These resignations additionally foreshadow extra employees who would possibly jump ship as loyalists reconcile the habits that has been reported by their colleagues and friends with the governor they thought they knew.
Rhodes spouse, Alexa Kissinger, on Monday offered public support for Anna Ruch — a lady who detailed an uncomfortable interplay with Cuomo that was caught on digicam — in a publish on Twitter, and likewise shared criticism of the governor’s motion. It’s a pointy flip; Cuomo officiated Kissinger and Rhodes’ wedding in 2019.
Present and former aides privately say they’re going by some type of private disaster as the present scandals threaten to mar the legacy Cuomo has constructed over the previous decade as governor.
“I’m livid with the person,” stated one former Cuomo aide, talking on the situation of anonymity. “We’re afraid that is going to undo 12 years of actually good work. Love him or hate him, New York is a distinct state below Andrew.”
Many say they justified 80-hour workweeks and a no-excuses workplace surroundings with respectable achievements they noticed from their boss. Cuomo’s legacy contains marriage equality, a $15 minimal wage, paid household go away, strict gun management, increasing ladies’s reproductive well being, constructing light-up bridges and updating airports. However that’s not what folks will bear in mind, stated one other former government chamber worker.
“I do know that there are such a lot of individuals who simply killed themselves for this workplace to get issues completed,” the previous worker stated. “It’s identical to a slap within the face.”
“I gave my coronary heart and soul to the chamber and the state, and I labored for pennies,” they added. “It was a really robust place to work and I went by it. I used to be pleased with what I used to be in a position to accomplish regardless of all of the circumstances. That is making me query individuals who have been like household to me.”