Yesterday Governor Cuomo suddenly fired Steven Kuhr, the director of the State Office Of Emergency Management, after hearing that the official had allegedly sent workers to clear a tree at his Long Island home during Hurricane Sandy. It is not expected that the loss of the $153,000-salaried bureaucrat will hurt cleanup efforts.
Kuhr was appointed to the job a little more than a year ago and came with good cred, having run an emergency management consulting firm and the Times reports that he previously spent "two decades working for New York City in a variety of jobs, including deputy director for operations and planning for the Office of Emergency Management and a chief and division captain of E.M.S. special operations at the Fire Department."
During the storm Kuhr was working Albany and reportedly asked crews in Suffolk County, where he lives, to clear a tree from his driveway:
Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said Wednesday that Kuhr called Suffolk's emergency operations center in Yaphank and talked with Fire Rescue and Emergency Services Commissioner Joseph Williams early in the storm.
During the same conversation, Kuhr informed Williams about "a tree that was blocking the entrance to his home," according to Schneider.
Schneider said a team of volunteer firefighters was called to the home to clear a path -- "a service we would do for anyone."
Williams later mentioned Kuhr's request to Chief Deputy County Executive Regina Calcaterra, who brought it to the attention of the governor's staff.
When Cuomo found out about the tree he reportedly ordered Kuhr out. Which we're not arguing with. Meanwhile, don't worry about what this means for the cleanup. As the Times notes, Kuhr "was not the senior aide leading the recovery efforts. That role is being filled by Howard Glaser, the state’s operations director and one of Mr. Cuomo’s most trusted aides, who has frequently appeared by his side in news conferences."