Home MTA Politics Cuomo finally submits MTA Board nods for Senate review

Cuomo finally submits MTA Board nods for Senate review

by Benjamin Kabak

As the MTA has put the capital funding debacle temporarily in the rear view mirror and gears up for a planned December unveiling of the Second Ave. Subway, nearly 90 years in the making, something akin to benign neglect has settled over the MTA Board. Thanks to inaction on the part of the Governor who is supposed to pass along nominees, 14 out of the 23 MTA Board spots are currently holdover appointees (with some held over from as long ago as 2006) while two vacancies have sat empty for years and three other appointments are set to expire at the end of the month.

Now, for the second time in two years, the governor has passed along a slate of names for certain open positions — including three mayoral nominees — late in the legislative calendar. There is hope that the State Senate will have time to consider and confirm these appointments, but similar to last year, the legislative calendar has only five days remaining before breaking until January. With so little time left and based on conversations I’ve had, it isn’t in fact clear if Cuomo wants many of these nominations confirmed.

Kate Hinds of WNYC broke the news of the new appointments via Twitter tonight:

Of those listed, Vanterpool, Jones and Rodriguez, all de Blasio nominees, along with Peter Ward, a Cuomo appointee, had been sent to the Senate last year, but the Senate claimed it simply did not have time to assess these candidates. They’re joined this year by TWU President John Samuelsen, who would fill the union’s non-voting representative seat on the Board, and Charles Phillips, a major Cuomo campaign contributor. It’s not quite clear whose seat Phillips would fill, though all indications are that Allen Cappelli, a smart, loud and vocal advocate for sensible transit policy, will be off the Board.

In her story on the appointments Hinds gets into the motivation behind Cuomo’s inaction. When asked why he waited so long again to send these names to the Senate, the state’s chief executive said simply, “I don’t know.” It’s also still not clear if the rumblings of a conflict of interest with regards to the mayor’s appointment of Ydanis Rodriguez have been resolved.

Whether this is forward progress remains to be seen. Cuomo has an MTA Board now that, with a few exceptions, isn’t pushing back on his policies and poor funding practices. He hasn’t been too willing to approve the Mayor’s nominations who would be a bit more vocal regarding some of the state’s poor practices, and so he has seemingly been content to let the holdover Board members continue in their roles. We’ll find out over the next few weeks if the Senate is under pressure from Cuomo to hear these nominees, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the 2016 legislative session ends with, again, no action on MTA Board appointments. After all, the MTA has long been another pawn in the battle between Cuomo and de Blasio.

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John June 8, 2016 - 12:51 am

“the legislative calendar has only five days remaining before breaking until January”

this must be a typo, right?

Ted K. June 8, 2016 - 7:27 am Reply
madbandit June 8, 2016 - 9:11 am

This calendar is for January to June. I imagine a new calendar will be released covering July through December. Not even the NYS Assembly would break for 6 months.

JR June 8, 2016 - 2:24 pm

It’s a part-time job. They work from January to June. Archaic, sure, but true. The US Congress used to be the same way. I’ve always thought air conditioning helped changed that, but evidently not in NY.

SEAN June 8, 2016 - 7:36 am

Hope Veronica Vanterpool makes it.

Larry Littlefield June 8, 2016 - 8:19 am

“Cuomo has an MTA Board now that, with a few exceptions, isn’t pushing back on his policies and poor funding practices.”

Since when has anyone on the MTA Board pushed back against poor funding practices? Were I on the board I’d have resigned in protest five times over by now.

The war on everyone under age 60 continues.

smotri June 8, 2016 - 9:45 am

Ah, now there’s a supposed war waged against those under 60…

Larry Littlefield June 8, 2016 - 9:49 am

When you have as your policy cashing in and cash cowing assets and running up debts for future generations to deal with, and do it long enough, eventually it isn’t just the young. It turns out to be just about everyone.

Or course the plan is to be gone when the consequences come due. I wonder where Cuomo plans to be living after he is Governor? Bloomberg can just move to Bermuda.

Rob June 8, 2016 - 9:02 am

first, a board of 23 is absurdly large. No org can operate efficiently with that.

Second, his nominations of the left-most leftists also obviate any chance for efficiency; rather the mta is to be run for the unions.

Nathanael June 10, 2016 - 7:09 pm

“I don’t know” is a good summary of Andrew Cuomo’s apparent general level of understanding of his job, how to run a government, public policy, etc.

It’s really sad that he’s been allowed to seize so much power in the Democratic Party, because he’s damn stupid.


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