Disgraced outgoing Gov. Andrew Cuomo is saddling successor Kathy Hochul with a important staffing disaster at the condition Wellbeing Division when she can take the reins Tuesday, personnel data received by The Put up reveal.
The documents clearly show that 58 DOH employees who created more than $100,000 — together with people in prime policy positions and experts tasked with fighting the unrelenting COVID-19 crisis — have fled the company from Jan. 1 by way of Aug. 11 this 12 months.
Two more top rated overall health officials have submitted resignations considering that then, bringing the overall to 60. One particular of them is Richard Becker, the governor’s deputy secretary for wellness and human companies, who was hired very last August.
“Hochul has been handed a depleted and demoralized Health Department. It is likely to be Hochul’s dilemma to rebuild DOH,” 1 former veteran division official informed The Publish.
“They missing a good deal of awareness and practical experience and they have not replenished it.”
The resource stated embattled Wellness Commissioner Howard Zucker was striving to recruit talent to fill vacancies before Cuomo announced his resignation immediately after a devastating investigative report issued by condition Attorney Typical Letitia James on Aug. 3 established the governor sexually harassed 11 ladies, which include present and previous staffers. Cuomo has frequently denied all those allegations.
The report identified the governor sexually harassed 11 gals, including existing and former staffers.
Cuomo, who confronted possible impeachment, introduced his resignation right after 11 several years in business office.
The employees exodus and brain drain could complicate Hochul’s final decision on whether to dump tarnished agency chief Zucker. He is envisioned to keep on being at the helm of the DOH briefly all through Hochul’s 45-working day changeover and evaluation period.
The list of departures received by a Freedom of Data Legislation request submitted with condition Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office environment involves:
- Debra Site, longtime director of the division of epidemiology, the unit responsible for combating communicable ailments and infections like COVID-19 and overseeing immunization systems. Her annual income was $196,991 when she departed.
- Victoria Derbyshire, who was deputy director of DOH’s nationally renowned Wadsworth Lab Centre for seven several years and labored there because 1992. She’s now a wellness consultant and her LinkedIn site said she spent “the previous eight months” as Wadsworth deputy director “in the absence of a director.” She gained $163,688 a year. The Wadsworth director, Jill Taylor, earlier resigned.
- Lauren Tobias, previous director of DOH’s Division of Spouse and children Health, who supported COVID-19 unexpected emergency setting up initiatives. She produced $152,000 every year and now works for the lobbying firm Brown & Weinraub.
- Greg Allen, the former director of program and management, who was mainly accountable for Medicaid expert services preparing and policy. He was paid $188,000.
- Janet Zachary-Elkind, Allen’s deputy director. She earned $173,000.
- Peggy Chan, previous director of the Business office of Overall health Insurance’s supply technique payment application. She was paid out $181,056.
- Michael Bass, the former $160,690-a-year deputy counsel for litigation.
- Tracey Fay Raleigh, DOH’s deputy director of the centre for organizing and licensure.
- Paula Breen, previously deputy director of business office of professional health-related carry out, who manufactured $153,375.
- Gary Holmes, who attained $168,000 and served as the DOH’s assistant commissioner for communications.
- Erasmus Schneider, study director and experts for DOH and its Wadsworth Lab. He was paid out $163,860 and retired in June.
7 other investigation experts have also just lately left and some of DOH’s professionals have been transferred to other companies. Nora Yates, director of DOH’s call tracing system who formerly assisted operate the middle for group health, is now associate commissioner at the condition Workplace of Children and Family members.
Hochul’s office environment did not dispute there is a staffing trouble at DOH.
“The Section of Wellbeing has hundreds of hardworking personnel throughout the point out, several who continue to function lengthy several hours and as a result of challenging circumstances as we struggle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hochul spokeswoman Haley Viccaro.
“The lieutenant governor has outlined a 45-working day changeover window, and the changeover staff is actively working to recruit staff equally in the Govt Chamber and at all point out agencies, such as the Division of Health and fitness, as element of a new Hochul Administration. We are self-confident that the governing administration will function at all levels during this approach,” additional Viccaro.
A Wellbeing Department spokesperson claimed the company has and will keep on to “actively recruit” a new technology of workforce to steer the agency.
“The Section of Health and fitness staff members are happy of the role we have performed steering New York through an unprecedented pandemic, with a lot of having delayed planned departures or retirement to do so, although others returned from retirement to enable deal with our COVID-19 reaction,” mentioned DOH rep Jill Montag.
“We keep on to actively recruit the next era of experts as we endorse the health and fitness of New Yorkers and get ready for a new gubernatorial administration in the coming times,” she reported.
Many critics have known as for Zucker’s ouster for carrying out Cuomo’s soiled perform for the duration of the pandemic.
Zucker signed off on the controversial DOH directive during the early days of the pandemic that purchased nursing properties to take in recovering COVID-19 people from hospitals devoid of prior testing, which critics claimed contributed to the unfold of bacterial infections and fatalities between the elderly in individuals services. Cuomo and Zucker defended the policy, which was later rescinded.
Zucker and DOH also were implicated in Cuomo’s address-up of the genuine amount of COVID-19 fatalities in nursing homes and for making an attempt to absolve the administration of wrongdoing in an in-residence report issued previous calendar year.
Critics reported Cuomo slash out or minimized DOH experts’ position in other important pandemic decisions, these types of as the rollout of tests and vaccination strategies.
A lot more than 54,000 men and women have died of COVID-19 in New York condition, in accordance to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Source Center. About 16,000 fatalities were being people of nursing houses and other grownup care services.