Andrew Cuomo Plays Non-Musical Chairs With Department of Environmental Conservation (UPDATE)

Andrew Cuomo really doesn't like unused office furniture -- or office furniture he thinks is unused, that is.

So, the Times Union reports, his administration instructed staffers to go into the Department of Environmental Conservation offices on the weekend and overnight to transfer furniture and set up offices for the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation. The idea is that this department will share previously empty office space with the DEC.

One problem: Much of this furniture was still being used by DEC staffers for meetings or for visitors at their cubicles. And they were not told about the removal ahead of time.

The move has caused so much uproar that it prompted the publication of "a satirical memo, complete with official DEC letterhead."

"'What better way to further erode morale than to take away a mechanism enabling co-workers to sit and have a non-work related discussion. I wish I could have been there to see the surprised look on your faces!' read part of the faux-memo -- signed by 'Sofa King Huge Governor.'"

The memo, which refers to the Chair Removal Action Program (note the acronym), also alludes to the actual loss of garage parking spaces by some DEC workers to accommodate the Parks employees."

The Voice reached out to the governor's office to see why nobody informed employees about the changes ahead of time. We'll update if we hear back.

UPDATE: The Office of General Services got back to the Voice and had this to say:

"625 Broadway was nearly 30% vacant prior to the restacking. The chairs that were moved have been replaced with work stations to accommodate additional state employees moving to the building. When the restack is done there will be a 2% vacancy rate in the building. This is a far better use of state taxpayer owned space.

Before the restacking, DEC had 866 downtown parking spaces allocated to the agency and now have 61 more, for a total of 927 spaces. Only 14 DEC spots that were in the garage prior to the restack were moved - and they were moved to the Water Street surface lot which is close to the building. DEC has 75% of the spaces in the garage which coincides with the percentage of DEC staff now in the building. The remaining garage spots will be allocated equitably to other agencies, including Parks, that are moving to the building."

We sent back an e-mail asking for clarification: Why didn't the governor's office just tell employees in the first place, since they seemed most peeved about being kept in the dark? We haven't heard back yet about that specific question.

[HT City and State] Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.


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