By: Marcos Lebron
On September 11th following the Democratic primary Governor Cuomo reached out to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown to congratulate the mayor for his win and followed by asking Mayor if he would be interested in running for Lt Governor next her on his ticket.
Mayor Brown indicated he would be honored. Mayor Brown shared the news with his closest friends and aides and the frenzy for who would become mayor of the City of Buffalo began.
Council President Fontana started discussions about the transition with the Democratic majority on the Common Council which then led to Councilwomen Bonnie Russell expressing interest in an interim appointment as mayor until the special election was held next year.
As the rumor mill continued Assemblyman Mikey Kearns started reaching out to Democratic Party faithful to gain support for the upcoming special election should Mayor Brown leave early to fill in Lt Duffy’s until the 2014 Election for Governor.
Mayor Brown has denied any interest in the Lt. Governors position and Governor Cuomo has refused to comment.
Meanwhile, Lt. Governor Duffy when asked about his departure and Mayor Brown filling his position until the 2014 elections, indicated that it is just rumors and that he is would running for Lt. Governor.
At first it was called a “rumor” and the “speculation” was driven by the media but now it appears
There was truth behind the rumor and speculation all along.
Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy admits he did interview for the job of President and CEO of the
Rochester Business Alliance back on October 5.
According to a statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Director of Communications, Melissa DeRosa, the Lt. Governor made clear “approximately 10 days later” that his intent is “to serve out the rest of his term.”
On October 18 Duffy was telling reporters that he had also “heard the rumors” but he otherwise dismissed the rumors and said he was with the Governor on this one.
On October 21 the current RBA President and CEO, Sandy Parker, announced that she would stay on in her role past the end of 2013. Parker had announced in May that she intended to retire.
By Wednesday the 23 Governor Andrew Cuomo was being asked by reporters in Albany if he was aware of his #2 man’s rumored interest in this job. The Governor danced around those questions but was asked point blank if he felt a conflict of interest could exist if Duffy is even exploring a job with the RBA.
“Uh, I don’t know anything about the Rochester Business Alliance,” the Governor responded.
But the Governor surely knows about the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council as it is one of ten such councils his office formed in New York State as part of a new way award economic funding from the state.
If you include Parker there are eight board members of the RBA that also serve on the Finger Lakes Regional Council. Those include vice-chairmen Joel Seligman of the University of Rochester and Danny Wegman.
Lt. Governor Bob Duffy is the Chairman of these ten regional councils and presides over their various meetings.
In 2011 the Finger Lakes Region was awarded nearly $69 million in state funding. In 2012 the Finger Lakes Region was awarded more than any other region in New York State, more than $96 million.
The alliance is a registered lobbying entity. It paid Parker a salary of $262,785 in 2012, plus $58,680 in bonuses, $59,783 in deferred pay and retirement benefits, and $13,454 in nontaxable benefits — a total of $397,714, according to its most recent public filings.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy’s pursuit of a lucrative new job with a private business lobbying group in Rochester raised concerns that he was potentially violating the Public Officer’s Law by not first informing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and recusing himself from matters involving economic development in western New York, according to a person close to the group’s executive search committee.
Likewise, Duffy bought a three-bedroom house on Keuka Lake just south of Penn Yan for $527,000 from Sandy Parker, who is creating a vacancy as head of the Rochester Business Alliance through her impending retirement