Paterson Drops Top Aide as O'Byrne Returns as Consultant

patersonspeaksright.jpgWith his poll numbers sinking, Governor Paterson is making some staff changes. According to the Times, first deputy secretary to the governor Larry S. Schwartz will replace William J. Cunningham III as secretary to the governor. Schwartz was previously allied with Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano.

Cunningham, a lawyer and former aide to Eliot Spitzer's 2006 Democratic opponent Tom Suozzi, stepped up when Paterson unexpected took over the governorship from Spitzer and was officially appointed secretary in November. When Paterson talked about bringing disgraced aide Charles O'Byrne back to Albany as a consultant, the Times wondered how this would impact Cunningham, who was thought to be Paterson's closest aide -- but apparently Cunningham wasn't that close. Now O'Byrne is on board as a campaign consultant, and we imagine he and the governor may talk about any number of things.

Joining the staff are Deomcratic factota Peter Kauffmann, former Hillary Clinton press secretary, as communications director, and Tracy Sefl, former Terry McAuliffe/DNC advisor, as a consultant. And Paterson has dumped his polling team, Global Strategy Group, for Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

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