News

Cuomo Fires Emergency Management Chief For Sending Crew To Own House

Steven Kuhr

New York State Director of Emergency Management Steven Kuhr was fired by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for sending crews to take away a fallen tree on his own driveway in Long Island. (Credit: State of New York)

Superstorm Sandy

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has fired his emergency management director for diverting crews to take away a tree from his own driveway on Long Island during Superstorm Sandy.

An unnamed state official told the Associated Press that New York State Director of Emergency Management Steven Kuhr was let go after Cuomo was told that Kuhr called a Suffolk County crew to remove a fallen tree from his driveway.

Kuhr was working in Albany at the time last week, shortly after Sandy hit.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the personnel decision was not announced. But as of Wednesday afternoon, Kuhr’s bio page had been taken down from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Web site.

The New York Times first reported the action earlier Wednesday.

Kuhr was paid $153,000 as executive deputy commissioner of the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. He was appointed to the position a little more than a year ago, and had previously run an emergency management firm called the Strategic Emergency Group, the New York Times reported.

The consulting firm had contracts with New York City, the state and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, according to the news release announcing his appointment.

Kuhr had also worked for New York City for 20 years including with the fire department.

The action comes as Cuomo has bitterly criticized utilities for what he said has been slow progress restoring power to customers from the Hudson Valley through Long Island. On Monday, Cuomo said the poor progress by the utilities was “unacceptable.”

Con Edison restored power to almost all the high-profile Lower Manhattan customers who were without power by Friday evening. But Cuomo emphasized that there is more to New York, and Con Ed’s service area, than Manhattan, and accused the utility companies of blowing other areas off.

When asked what kind of recourse he had against the power companies, Cuomo reminded a reporter that they are regulated by a government authority.

He said the state could take actions “from sanctions to revocation of franchise,” he said.

A phone number listed in Kuhr’s name was not working Wednesday night, the AP reported.

What do you think about Kuhr’s actions? Leave your comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)