The SAGE commission members announced today by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help streamline state government include some major contributors to the governor’s campaign, campaign finance records show.
Also, a review of lobbying records in 2010 by NYPIRG shows that some of the companies and unions affiliated with members spent about $660,000 last year on lobbying in Albany—including $216,000 by the AFL-CIO, $96,000 by IBM and $79,000 by Eastman Kodak Co.
AFL-CIO president Denis Hughes is on the panel, as is Robert Samson, the former general manager of IBM’s Global Public Sector. The co-chair of the panel is Antonio Perez, chairman and CEO of the Rochester-based Eastman Kodak Co.
Nearly half of the 25-member commission contributed to Cuomo’s campaign for governor.
Member Barry Gosin, a Mount Kisco resident and CEO of Newmark & Company Real Estate Inc, and his wife gave $62,347 to Cuomo’s campaign. Jonathan Sandelman, managing partner of Mercer Park LP in New York City, gave $42,500; Neil Cole, CEO of Iconix Brand Group Inc. in New York City, and Cheryl Cohen Effron, vice chairwoman of Wildcat Service Corp. in Manhattan, each gave $30,000.
Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY, said Cuomo is showing his political astuteness by bringing a wide variety of groups together for the panel, but questioned whether the public’s voice will be heard.
“Who is representing the people?” she said. “Where is just an ordinary taxpayer or an ordinary New Yorkers who doesn’t have dog in this fight, but wants to have efficient government?”
Still, NYPIRG’s Russ Haven said unlike the Medicaid Redesign Team which included only health-care stakeholders, this group is broader. He said he hopes that it’s an open process where the public can have a sense of the group’s work.