Paul Francis, Top Aide to Paterson and Spitzer, Resigns

Paul Francis, the director of State Operations for Governors Paterson and Spitzer, has resigned, the governor’s office announced today. In the Paterson administration, Mr. Francis provided oversight to many key development projects in the state, trying to sort out the mess at Moynihan Station, among others.

Former colleagues generally held him in high regard as a policy-focused good-government type, though he was said to clash with others close to the governor.

Toward the end of this legislative session, he was a key figure in negotiating the state’s incentive package in a casino resort planned for the Catskills.

Last week, before a deal was eventually reached, we asked Senator John Bonacic, who represents the area, what the holdup was to a three-way deal between the Assembly, Senate and governor’s office.

“The problem is Paul Francis,” Mr. Bonacic said, adding that Mr. Francis was reticent to grant additional state subsidy requested for the project.

For weeks, insiders had suggested Mr. Francis’ tenure was limited in the capital. The Times Union had the scoop on this yesterday.

Release below.

GOVERNOR PATERSON ANNOUNCES THE RESIGNATION OF STATE OPERATIONS DIRECTOR PAUL E. FRANCIS
Governor David A. Paterson today announced that Director of State Operations Paul E. Francis has submitted his resignation.

Paul Francis was a key member of the team that produced some of the State’s most important victories in the last two years, including a new Foundation Formula and Contracts for Excellence for schools, gaining control over Medicaid costs and comprehensive workers compensation reform. He also represented the State in negotiating a number of large transactions, including a long-term power purchase agreement that kept Alcoa in the North Country, the granting of the NYRA franchise and the state takeover New York City OTB earlier this month.

“In his roles as Director of State Operations, Budget Director and Policy Director for the Spitzer-Paterson transition, Paul provided experience, judgment and wise counsel to me and my predecessor,” said Governor Paterson. “He came into government after a long career in the private sector, and quickly demonstrated a commitment to public service that won him many friends in Albany. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Mr. Francis served as the Director of the Division of the Budget for the first year of the Spitzer Administration after serving as the Policy Director for former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s campaign and Transition Office. He has been the Director of State Operations since January 1, 2008. Prior to entering public service, he spent 25 years in the private sector, where he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Ann Taylor Stores Corporation and Priceline.com as well as a Managing Director of Merrill Lynch & Co.

Paul Francis said: “It has been a privilege to work with Governor Paterson over these last three months and for Governor Spitzer before him. I’m proud of what we accomplished together and will always cherish the opportunity that was given to me to serve in State government. Governor Paterson is off to a great start and I’m confident he will prove to be one of New York’s great Governors.”