Andrew Cuomo Administration Wavers on Whistleblower


Something just ain’t adding up in Albany.

You see, the Voice has noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office appears to have a bit of a problem with openness.Most voters do like Cuomo, but almost the same amount really don’t like how secretive he seems when it comes to big policy decisions. Yeah, he said he would clean up the capital, but his administration also just coaxed the senate into disinviting a whistleblower from a panel, The New York Times reports.

The administration pressured state officials to tell Jeffrrey Monsour — who works for the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and routinely criticizes the bureau’s treatment of abuse and neglect reports — that he could no longer attend a meeting about these topics, according to the Times. The administration backed off this decision only after the Times started asking around.

Courtney Burke, who runs the Disability office, asked Friday that Monsour be barred from the meeting.

One pol said that Monsour had been booted from the roundtable out of “respect” for Burke.

Her spokesman eventually told the Times:

“While we think this is an inappropriate venue that will serve more as a public relations effort to feed sensationalized press coverage of these issues given the oft-stated bias of some of the participants, and don’t think it will be productive substantively, Commissioner Burke will attend despite Mr. Monsour’s participation.”

The tone of the comments — and the uneasy reversal of policy — has concerned not just Monsour but other advocates for the disabled, who worry about the agency’s treatment of critics. Some say that staffers who speak out get put on administrative leave.

They worry that this kind of culture persists despite Cuomo’s claims that the agency will undergo necessary reforms.

The Voice reached out to a Cuomo spokesman to figure out what’s up. He declined comment. We’ll update if we hear more.

[H/T City & State]

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