A review of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s schedule for his first eight months in office gives an interesting look at his administration’s focus as it shifted from the state budget to same-sex marriage and other policy issues to storm response, but it comes with a mixed bag of details when it comes to his private meetings.
The schedule, released this morning, includes a list of attendees for some meetings — take a March 9 meeting on same-sex marriage with more than a dozen people listed in attendance, including NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, for example — while others are detailed with vague and broad terms, such as “legislative staff” or “senior staff” discussing things like “high tech economic development issues” or “budget issues.”
Some highlights from the schedules:
– It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but the furious end-of-session push made June one of Cuomo’s most active months, with frequent meetings in his office with Republican lawmakers as they weighed voting in favor of same-sex marriage. Cuomo met six times with Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, before he became one of four GOP senators to vote for the bill, which passed on June 24.
The governor also met three times in his office with Sens. Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie, Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, and Kemp Hannon of Nassau County, the trio of Republicans who helped negotiate wider exemptions into the bill for religious institutions.
– Following the passage of an on-time budget, Cuomo held a “post-budget thank you” reception at the Executive Mansion for a long list of his staff members on April 4, before having a “post-budget dinner” with eight Republican senators at the mansion later that evening. Cuomo dined with a selection of Assembly Democrats at the mansion the next day.
– Cuomo held two meetings with members of his senior staff and some top commissioners on the condition of Tappan Zee Bridge and how to move forward: one on May 20, and the other on Aug. 4.
– The governor twice took a private aircraft to events, which Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto says were “in kind” contributions to the governor’s campaign. The first trip came to New York city for a campaign fundraiser on June 14, which appears to have been paid for by investment banker Gregg Hymowitz, as Liz B. at Capital Tonight points out.
The second was a trip from White Plains, Westchester County, to Syracuse on Aug. 23 for the first day of the New York State Fair. Cuomo had originally been slated to attend a fundraiser in Onondaga County later that evening, but canceled the event to prepare for Tropical Storm Irene. But just who paid for that trip won’t be known until the governor files his next six-month campaign finance report in January.
– Speaking of planes, the governor didn’t take any so-called “mixed-use trips” on state aircraft, meaning he didn’t use the plane for an official state purpose but then attend an additional personal or political event while on the ground. While state law doesn’t prevent that from happening, a state ethics panel said officials must reimburse the state for the portion of the trip used for personal reasons.
Cuomo did reimburse the state once, though, as he detailed on a radio appearance this morning. The governor said his daughter had a friend visiting from California, and he took them both to a state event on Long Island to make an announcement on fishing license reimbursements. Cuomo reimbursed the state $1,185 for his daughter’s friend, listed on his schedule as “E. Tatum.”
– Cuomo had a lunch meeting with his one-time boss, former President Bill Clinton, on July 11. Clinton is slated to appear in Albany on Tuesday to address Cuomo’s regional economic development councils.
Here’s Cuomo’s June schedule, which details his meetings with legislative leaders, lawmakers and advocates before the Legislature passed his major agenda items: