A Cuomo adviser joins Councilmember Johnson's staff, as turnover continues

By LOUIS FLORES

Erik Bottcher, a Manhattan community liaison for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) has left his post in the Cuomo administration and has, instead, rejoined the New York City Council staff of District 3, covering the more focused areas of the West Village, Chelsea, and parts of Hells Kitchen, according to an item in Page Six of The New York Post.

Mr. Bottcher will work for Councilmember Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), who now represents District 3.  Prior to joining the Cuomo administration, Mr. Bottcher had served as a community liaison for the previous District 3 councilmember, Christine Quinn

High turnover on the Johnson staff

Mr. Bottcher joins the Johnson administration at a time of some high-level turnover.  Councilmember Johnson suffered a set back when his chief of staff, Jeffrey LeFrancois, left his post late last year.  Mr. LeFrancois himself served in that post less than a year, after being given the post in a shocking post-election move by then Councilmember-elect Johnson.  The post of chief of staff had been widely expected to have been given to Councilmember Johnson's 2013 campaign manager, R.J. Jordan, according to a report published by Gay City News.  

It's unclear if another Johnson staff member has left, freeing up a post for Mr. Bottcher to fill.  Efforts to reach Councilmember Johnson for comment about the additional changes in his staff were unsuccessful.  

The mass exodus from the Cuomo administration continues

The turnover in Councilmember Johnson's staff is no match for what has been taking place over the same relative period of time in the Cuomo administration.

The state's Health Commissioner, Dr. Niraj Shah, departed his post last summer after the Medicaid Redesign Team effected a large number of hospital closings, and his post has yet to be permanently filled, even though the New York State Department of Health was set to be extremely involved in the Cuomo administration decision on fracking and as healthcare emergencies, such as the ebola panic, later set in.  

Last spring, a published report announced the impending resignation of state operations director Howard Glaser, and Josh Vlasto, Gov. Cuomo's chief of staff, resigned to take a post with the Wall Street banking giant, JPMorgan Chase.

In September, it was announced that Mylan Denerstein, counsel to Gov. Cuomo and a witness in the federal investigation into the Moreland Commission corruption investigation, was set to resign.  

Others, whose departures were reported in the fall, included Gov. Cuomo's secretary, Lawrence Schwartz, a witness in the Aqueduct Racetrack casino bid-rigging scandal and in the Moreland Commission investigation ; Benjamin Lawsky, the head of New York State Department of Financial Services ; press secretary Matthew Wing ; state budget director Robert Megna ;  acting chief counsel Seth Agata ; and James Cox, the state's Medicaid Inspector General.

Before 2014 ended, five more Cuomo administration departures were announced :  those of Karen Rae, a deputy commissioner at the state's Department of Transportation ; Howard Milstein, the chairman of the Thruway Authority ; Kristin Proud, the state's Welfare commissioner ; Peter Rivera, the commissioner of the state's Department of Labor ; and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala.

Besides Mr. Bottcher's departure to join the Johnson administration, two other surprise resignations were announced in the new year :  those of Tom Madison and John Bryan, the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, respectively, of the state's troubled Thruway Authority. 

Progress Queens has requested an interview with a top Cuomo administration official about these numerous departures, and any information received will appear in a future update.