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Gov. Cuomo Under Fire For Not Overhauling LIPA Board, Appointing New Chairman

Governor Ducks Questions About Whether He Could Have Acted Quicker
(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Just who is responsible for leaving so many Long Islanders in the dark for so long?

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vowed to hold the Long Island Power Authority accountable, but it turns out the governor himself could have done more to keep the lights on. This despite the fact that COO Mike Hervey resigned Tuesday night, effective at year’s end.

To hear the governor attack LIPA, you might think he is an innocent bystander.

“It is a system that doesn’t work for this type of emergency crisis,” the governor has said.

And another time, Cuomo had this to say about the Long Island utility: “They represented themselves as experts at doing this and they failed and they should be held accountable for their failure.”

Some, however, think Gov. Cuomo should also be held accountable — not only for their failure but his failure.

“He has no one to blame but himself. We all knew LIPA wasn’t in great condition, now we’re all paying for it. I see him pointing the finger at everybody, but I think he’s trying to take the blame away from himself and blame it on somebody else,” said Oceanside resident John Mayo.

“I would like to have seen the governor do a better job, be more hands on and change these people, get them to do their job,” said Ken Toby, of Island Park.

Cuomo is at best guilty of benign neglect, CBS 2’s Kramer reported. During his 22 months in office, he could have appointed seven members of the 15-member board and its chairman. He has filled just one slot.

But he has also ignored a state public commission report that found the utility sorely lacking in its response to Hurricane Irene last year.

The report found that:

  • LIPA used an outdated 25-year-old computer system to track outages.
  • Memo pads were often used to track storm damage.
  • The agency for years neglected maintenance like rotting poles and trimming trees around power lines.

CBS 2’s Kramer asked Cuomo to look in the mirror and evaluate his performance.

Kramer: “Do you regret not overhauling LIPA after you became governor, because you could have appointed more board members or done something to overhaul what was clearly a bad company?”

Cuomo: “Marcia, I am where I was to begin with. I said in the campaign two years ago we have to overhaul the energy system and you know what? We have to overhaul the energy system. Now, it is a massive undertaking.”

When asked if he could have acted quicker as governor, Cuomo ignored the question entirely.

The Moreland Commission appointed by the governor will not only review the actions taken by the power companies before and after hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, but will also be able to make specific recommendations about how to reform and modernize the way New York delivers power to its residents.

The governor did not rule out an entirely new regional system of delivering power.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …