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A Trickle of Transparency From Planet Cuomo

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office has updated its CitizenConnects website with five months of his schedule. This latest post brings the schedules pretty much up-to-date, with the site boasting Cuomo's schedules from January 2011 to August 2012.

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We broke the story about Cuomo's "transparency" website last year, and have since reported on how very little transparency is contained in it. Cuomo's office has been slow in updating the site with schedules. When it does get updated, it usually lacks much detail and sometimes leaves out parts of the governor's schedule. (Cuomo's press people have generally ignored requests by the Gazette to comment on this or any other matter related to the site. For that matter, Cuomo generally doesn't get good grades on transparency).

Casey Seiler, of the Times Union's Capitol Confidential, provides some interesting highlights from the schedules:

Cuomo’s former secretary, Steve Cohen, met twice with Cuomo and other aides: once on June 8 and again on August 10. Cohen is an attorney in private practice and is focusing on advising various advocacy groups. By law, he is prohibited from any direct appearances before his former colleagues in the Executive Chamber on behalf of any client for two years. Vlasto said “there was no specific topic” at either meeting.

– On July 23, the day after the Times Union reported Lacewell had pre-screened documents at the State Archives and shielded boxes of papers from public view, Cuomo met with her twice, conferencing in Vlasto and Communications Director Rich Bamberger by phone. The governor also spoke on a conference call with Vlasto and Bamberger between his Lacewell meetings.

– Cuomo met with Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the former Brooklyn Democratic boss now disgraced by complaints, on May 1.

– Meetings with both Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Long Island and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan — known as “three-way leaders meetings” — were rare. Cuomo instead met with the men individually, usually. He did not meet with Skelos over the summer, but lunched with Silver on July 24 and Prime Grill."

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