There was the redaction of records from the state archives. The use of Blackberry messaging to avoid traceable emails. The writing of speeches by Mr. Cuomo’s staff for those introducing the governor at events around the state. The administration’s pre-emptive review of all documents sent by the governor to the archives and removing anything it deems sensitive from public view. The Times has jumped on the story, with an editorial suggesting that he has “a transparency problem that could easily put a dent in his growing national reputation.”
But on Fred Dicker’s radio show, the host tried to push the governor into saying that all this concern was misplaced.
“Shocking as it is, you actually believe that confidentiality in communication is actually an important thing” and mocking a colleague, a “minor columnist” who he said tiptoed close to slurring Mr. Cuomo’s Italian heritage by suggesting that he was totalitarian in his penchant for secrecy.
“I think the issue of transparency is one that we have had for a long period of time,” Mr. Cuomo responded. ” I think we have done a lot of things in this administration in the last 18 months already that have significantly improved transparency but I think it is one of those topics that you can never do enough and I think it is the press’ job to always advocate for more transparency. And I understand that. It is something that I take to heart.”
Mr. Cuomo went on to say that the real issue was restoring trust between the people and their government and added “I am going to work very hard to restore that trust and making government accessible to people.”
Mr. Dicker then wondered if he couldn’t just get spokesman Josh Vlasto to write different talking points for different gubernatorial introducers, and noted that “talking points are used all the time.”
“Of course they are, of course they are,” Mr. Cuomo agreed.
“Legislators use them. Oftentimes advocates will give them things to say, but nonetheless it might be embarrassing when something like that comes up,” Mr. Dicker gently chided.
“I think as you say,” Mr. Cuomo responded. “I have been in this business 30 years. Talking points are standard operating procedure.”