Cuomo's schedule doesn't indicate a lot of time spent on issues related to the MTA or Port Authority
11:29 am Sep. 23, 2011
According to the information about Andrew Cuomo's schedule available on his new website, CitizenConnects, the governor has had little-to-no facetime with either Port Authority executive director Chris Ward or outgoing MTA chairman and CEO Jay Walder, who is leaving his post, and the New York area, for the sunnier environs of Hong Kong, possibly because of the governor's lack of any obvious interest in him or his job. Ward's relationship with Cuomo is also said to be virtually nonexistent.
A review of Cuomo's public schedule from his inauguration in January to the end of August reveals no mention of either Ward or Walder. This, even though the authorities with which they are associated oversee, among other things, the subway, the LIRR, PATH, every major airport in New York State, every major port in New York and New Jersey, and, of course, Ground Zero.
Cuomo's schedule did reveal a few tantalizing details.
On Thursday, Feb. 3 at 4:15 p.m., he had a meeting in Albany on "Public Authorities." No attendees are listed. But that same day, the board of the Port Authority voted in New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's pick for Authority Chairman, David Samson.
On Friday, March 4, at 1:30 pm, the governor had a meeting about the vaguely defined topic, "Transporation and Infrastructure" at his New York City offices.
In April, May, June and July, there was no mention in his public schedules of "Ward," "Walder," "Port Authority," or "MTA."
On August 10, he made a "New York Remembers" announcement that included Robert Morris, a vice president at the Port Authority Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
And, on Friday, August 26, with Hurricane Irene approaching the city, the governor had an 11:50 a.m. call with unnamed officials at the MTA "re Status of Preparation of Subway Equipment, Facilities and Possible Evacuation Plan."
That's the same day City Hall News reported Walder had a "loud and angry phone argument" with Cuomo officials about whether he would appear alongside Mayor Bloomberg at a press conference. Later, Walder stood with Bloomberg to announce the impending closure of the city's subway system.
The governor has several subsequent entries listing storm-related meetings and briefings, but none that specifically mention the MTA.
As Andrea Bernstein noted yesterday about the Walder issue in a post about transportation meetings on Cuomo's schedule, "The Governor has kept thoughts about the replacement to himself, saying only he’d like to announce a replacement before Walder leaves on October 21."
Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto emailed the following statement: "The Governor and the administration were in frequent contact with the MTA and Port Authority."
Cuomo did say yesterday that, while the schedules were intended to convey the activities of the administration, they are not comprehensive and might exclude certain kinds of meetings, like interactions with reporters or personnel interviews.