Friday, February 19, 2010

Is Governor Paterson paying any attention to the ESDC? Previous upstate head of authority couldn't get a meeting

I asked Wednesday who's in charge of Atlantic Yards at the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).

Maybe a more pressing question is who's in charge of the ESDC. The answer: not Governor David Paterson.

From a New York Times article today headlined As Campaign Nears, Paterson Is Seen as Increasingly Remote:
Mr. Paterson’s approach to his job differs markedly from that of his predecessor. Mr. Spitzer, when he became governor, promised major change, installed appointees with substantial credentials and took a deep interest in their work, peppering them with e-mailed policy questions in the early-morning hours. Mr. Paterson is less involved with those who run the agencies, and less curious about how they are operating and whether their policies are succeeding, current and former aides say.

Shortly after Mr. Paterson took office in March 2008, Dan Gundersen, who was commissioner of economic development and chairman of the Upstate Empire State Development Corporation, requested a meeting with the new governor. He could not get on Mr. Paterson’s schedule, he said, and kept asking: 12 requests over a period of about 100 days. No meeting was ever scheduled, and Mr. Gundersen resigned that June.

“Governor Spitzer was completely engaged and responsive with me,” Mr. Gundersen recalled. “And when Governor Paterson assumed office, it was important for me to brief him on the upstate agenda and the projects we were working on.”
(Emphasis added)

So if Atlantic Yards opponents actually got on Paterson's schedule in December--at the last minute--that puts them ahead of Gunderson.

But the governor didn't sound like he was particularly informed and, if you consider 1) his rather full plate and 2) his inattention (according to today's article), there's no reason to think he's more informed.

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