In what marks her most vital appointment, Hochul is preserving Robert Mujica because the highly effective state finances director, sources instructed The Publish.
Mujica, who is taken into account a reliable cash supervisor, was omnipresent throughout Cuomo’s COVID-19 press briefings and because the guardian of the treasury had enter on just about each coverage problem that touched on spending.
Hochul’s determination drew plaudits from the enterprise group.
“Rob Mujica is a consummate professional who understands state finances better than anyone. He has worked for Republicans and Democrats, and is equally respected by both. We are lucky to have him managing the state budget.” Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York Metropolis
However critics on the left mentioned Mujicia is simply too carefully tied to Cuomo’s troubled insurance policies and referred to as his reappointment by Hochul troubling.
“If I were governor, I would replace Rob Mujica,” mentioned state Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan).
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) mentioned Mujica is linked to Cuomo’s “corporate friendly” and “austerity” insurance policies — significantly subsidies to failed upstate enterprise ventures and Medicaid price controls — and mentioned it was inappropriate for the finances director to look at Cuomo’s marketing campaign fundraisers, hobnobbing with donors with enterprise earlier than the state.
“Hochul is concerned about appeasing the same group that raised massive donations for Cuomo in the past. There are more qualified people concerned about the needs of consumers, patients, nursing home residents whose rights were stripped away during the pandemic,” Kim mentioned.
Mujica served as Andrew Cuomo’s finances direc tor since 2015 and likewise serves as ex-officio member on 30 state boards — including the MTA
He beforehand labored as fiscal director for Republicans once they managed the state Senate, and his unique appointment by Cuomo aggravated some Democrats. Mujica appeared with Hochul Tuesday throughout a non-public assembly in Albany with county executives from throughout the state.
She had hinted that Mujica could be a key participant with crew Hochul to assist craft her first finances throughout an election 12 months, as he was within the Cuomo administration when she served as lieutenant governor.
“I am still evaluating positions, but he is working very hard with us to chart the future going forward, so I believe he’ll be with us for some time,” Hochul mentioned of Mujica final week.
One supply within the room throughout the county executives’ assembly described Mujica as “irreplaceable” and mentioned Hochul praised him.
“It says something about how far she’s going to go in terms of change in the area that affects everything — which is the budget. I think she realizes who else can do this who really knows the ins and outs as well as where the bodies are buried as well. She realizes this is the make or break budget and he knows it better than anyone else how to do that,” the supply mentioned of Mujica.
Hochul’s workplace confirmed Wednesday that she’s preserving Mujica as finances director.
“We are retaining a number of public servants who have demonstrated a commitment to the Governor’s agenda, and we look forward to working with our top tier team to deliver results for New Yorkers,” Hazel Crampton-Hays mentioned in a press release.
The assertion indicated that Mujica was not talked about negatively in state Lawyer Normal Letitia James’ investigative report that discovered Cuomo sexually harassed present and former feminine staffers, triggering his resignation.
In the meantime, two Cuomo appointees to the Public Service Fee, John Maggiore and John Howard — longtime Cuomo loyalists tapped for the comfortable jobs earlier than he stepped down in a sexual harassment scandal — are refusing Hochul’s request to resign.
Maggiore’s time period doesn’t expire till February 2027, whereas Howard’s time period doesn’t expire till February 2024.
The Cuomo appointees can’t be pressured off the board, mentioned state Senate Vitality Committee Chairman Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn). Each appointees had been confirmed by the state Senate.
“They’ve been appointed to their terms until they are complete. They have a right to refuse,” Parker mentioned.
“[Hochul} asked for something she couldn’t not enforce so here we are. She will have to figure out how to work with them or work around them. This is just an unusual circumstance.”