Friday, October 24, 2008

Kneecapping the Governor

The right hand man to Governor David Paterson (D-NY), Charles O'Byrne, is turning out to be a huge liability for the Governor, especially as negotiations are set to commence with the Legislature over a new round of budget cuts because of the looming fiscal crisis in the state. It's going to kneecap the Governor at the most delicate of junctures.

As Chief of Staff, O'Byrne has his hands on literally everything that crosses the desk of the Governor. He helps set the agenda, controls access, and reads everything that comes Paterson's way.

It therefore doesn't help that O'Byrne is now claiming the hysterically laughable excuse that he suffered from "non-filer syndrome" to explain away how and why he failed to pay income taxes for five years. This is a position that helps set the governor's agenda, brokers deals with the legislature on behalf of the governor, and essentially runs the governor's office. Not only does that suggest that the governor is getting bad advice for sticking by his guy, but it undermines his ability to negotiate with the legislature.

The situation also raises questions over what kind of advice the governor is getting from O'Byrne on Ground Zero, where the Governor's recent statements made absolutely no sense. Steve Cuozzo has the details on that aspect.

Paterson is doing himself no favors by keeping O'Byrne as his right hand man, and he's doing the state and city a grave disservice because the state and city need firm and competent leadership.

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