Paterson Aide's New Job Suddenly a Big Deal

patersonoff2.jpgThe New York Post semi-famously called for the hapless Paterson Administration to "Bring Back O'Byrne," meaning Charles O'Byrne, his former secretary and right-hand man, who'd resigned after it was revealed he hadn't paid taxes due to a mysterious mental illness. There was speculation that Paterson would do so, and get rid of current secretary William Cunningham while he was at it, as O'Byrne's presence would undermine him and other senior staff. Paterson did defenestrate Cunningham and bring O'Byrne back, though as a "campaign consultant" rather than as secretary, bumping first deputy secretary Larry Schwartz up to that position.

Today the Post complains that one day after leaving the secretary's post, Cunningham found work in the governor's Long Island office at a similar salary. His newer job is as advisor on disbursement of the federal stimulus in New York, a seemingly necessary function that didn't exist when Cunningham first came on board. Nonetheless Cunningham is getting slightly more money than Timothy Gilchrist, who's supposed to be in charge of that function. The Post adds to the story allegations new to us that Paterson found Cunningham "'weak' and 'indecisive'" in his previous post and "blamed him for the chaos in his administration," etc.

This is the sort of thing that might slide in a popular administration. But when such an administration becomes unpopular, and also presides over a broken budget, it goes down less well. Maybe Paterson's best bet now is to go down to the subways and rescue someone who has fallen on the tracks, or chase down a mugger.

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