But Jim Tedisco, the Assembly minority leader and Republican candidate for the seat, decided to call a press conference at his campaign headquarters this afternoon to blast the ad (below) by his opponent, Democrat Scott Murphy.
“His level of dishonesty is Spitzer-esqe,” Tedisco said. He took issue particularly with one point – that he “created” a job for Michael Cuevas as chief counsel. Tedisco said the ad is a “smear” against Cuevas, whose four-page resume his staffers gave to reporters. (Fun fact: he sings tenor in a church choir.)
Tedisco’s staffers said that Cuevas and Greg Amorosi were hired at the beginning of 2006 to replace two members of outgoing-Minority Leader Charles Nesbitt’s staff. Cuevas was hired as chief counsel and now earns $118.447 a year, according to payroll records provided by the State Comptroller’s office. Amorosi is listed as a “counsel to the minority leader” and earns $100,252. Tedisco spokesman Adam Kramer says he now works in Tedisco’s district office.
The pair replaced Kimberly Galvin, who by the end of her tenure with Nesbitt was serving as chief of staff and special counsel, but whose title had previously been “chief counsel.” Her departing salary was $137,348, again according to state payroll records. Jean McDonnell earned $97,847.85 as a “counsel” and “special counsel.”
So there was a chief counsel position – Murphy’s ad appears incorrect. But really this is hair-splitting. Every elected official of a certain stature has lawyers on their staff, as a counsel, special counsel, legislative counsel, chief counsel or whatever.
The Murphy ad calls Cuevas “one of Jim Tedisco’s biggest campaign contributors.” The State Board of Elections database isn’t working right now, so I can’t pull his contributions. Cuevas said he has contributed to Tedisco or other Republicans over the years, but said his donations to Tedisco were “relatively modest.” The idea of a political appointee contributing to a campaign is hardly shocking.
“I’m greatly offended by the implications of Mr. Murphy’s ad,” Cuevas told reporters, saying he might seek legal action.
“He’s gotten a free ride for a while,” Tedisco said of Murphy. “I’ve been talking about the issues.”
Murphy spokesman Ryan Rudominer emailed this statement: “As was previously reported by the Albany Times Union, Assemblyman Tedisco appointed Cueves to the ‘newly created’ $100,000 government job. So unless you account for Jim Tedisco’s big campaign contributors, career Albany politician Jim Tedisco has never created a single job.”