Former Governor Eliot Spitzer, never a fan of the current governor, yesterday blasted his hiring and spending practices at the Empire State Development Corporation. A recent front-page New York Times story suggested Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration prefers politically connected hires, an implication Mr. Spitzer wholly agreed with.
“There has been a problem at ESDC,” Mr. Spitzer told Road to City Hall host Errol Louis during last night’s program. “I think that The New York Times article was very clear in that is merely the top layer of the onion in terms of politics being pervasive in hiring, leaving and pushing substance to the side.”
Mr. Spitzer also tore into the agency’s ad campaign promoting the state’s economic growth, arguing that it amounted to “fluff.”
“There has not been coherence at ESDC. They have spent who knows how much money on TV ads that are fluff and a waste of taxpayer money,” Mr. Spitzer said. “When I talk to people upstate about where the funds are going, they are not being spent wisely, there is not creative thinking about it. And I’m deeply troubled by this and I think that what we saw in that little window into ESDC is problematic and I think that raises issues that really need to be pursued.”
Mr. Louis pushed back, asking Mr. Spitzer, who resigned as governor in 2008, whether the officials should be judged by whether economic growth is actually achieved, rather than by the process of their hiring practices.
“When you look at ESDC hiring, I remember we would hire people with a deep, extensive background in economic development and knowing how to negotiate with companies to leverage limited dollars into more hiring. Those are the things—the metrics–you use and want to look at, not people who happen to be the sons, daughters, colleagues of people who make big contributions,” Mr. Spitzer replied.
Mr. Cuomo’s office, which denied politics factor into their hiring practices, did not immediately return a request for comment.
However, a Cuomo spokesman has previously said, “The Governor’s office has no comment on anything Spitzer says.”