Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

The Weekend That Was

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office has opened a criminal investigation into the state Thruway Authority — including a possible call-girl scandal. The case was referred to the AG by the state inspector general’s office, which had been conducting its own probe and found potential criminality, sources said.

Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm accused of exploiting its connection to Sheldon Silver in New York City’s asbestos court, has come under fire in another lucrative arena — multibillion-dollar bankruptcy trusts.

Promising to upset his front-running Republican rival, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, Councilman Vincent Gentile launched his campaign for Congress this weekend, insisting that a Brooklynite can still triumph in NY-11.

Where it matters most for him – in the hearts and minds of his fellow Assembly Democrats who put him in power – new Speaker Carl Heastie is quickly coalescing his influence with a new style: listening directly to all rank-and-file Democrats, not just the veterans, and acting on their wish lists when he can.

Cuomo has scheduled at least two fund-raisers next month, one April 7 for $15,000-a-head at the Mutual of America building on Park Avenue and another April 24 at Yankee Stadium when the Bronx Bombers play the Mets in the Subway Series. Tickets for that event are going for $5,000 a pop.

Some 50,000 New York City students are stuck in schools where less than half the students graduated and fewer than 1 in 10 were proficient in either English or math, according to a report from the governor’s office. Those kids are languishing in the city’s 91 failing schools — 40 of which have struggled to make the grade for at least a decade.

The situation is particularly tough in poor sections of Brooklyn and the Bronx, where stats show schools that turn out tens of thousands of unprepared students. How bad is the crisis? Nearly 284,000 kids attended public schools last year where less than one student in five could read at their own grade level.

A CSX freight train hit a vehicle stuck on the tracks at a City of Tonawanda crossing early this morning, with the SUV’s occupants escaping less than a half minute before the crash.

The number of state workers who earned $100,000 or a lot more in 2014 fell for the first time in at least 5 years, a review of state records showed.

So far, Cuomo has been emphatically unemphatic on the subject. Last month, he said there was little “appetite” for movement on paid family leave in Albany, given the many legislative proposals already under consideration. So last week, 56 prominent women from across the state prodded the governor to take action.

US Senate Republicans threatened to further delay the confirmation vote for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying that the vote could depend on whether Congress works out a human trafficking bill first.

James Carville may have inadvertently added fuel to the Hillary Clinton email controversy fire, saying on on ABC’s “This Week” that her use of a private email account during her time as secretary of state was legal and likely an attempt to avoid congressional oversight.

House Speaker John Boehner plans to announce a new investigation into Clinton’s emails.

Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett reportedly leaked to the press details of Clinton’s use of a private e-mail address while a member of the administration, but did so in such a way that the story couldn’t be traced back to the White House.

Glenn Thrush: “This was the week when Hillary Clinton’s highest aspiration, being president, collided with her deepest fear — actually running for president.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was required during the first 15 days of January to appoint three members to the quadrennial advisory commission for the review of compensation levels of elected officials. He didn’t think it was the “appropriate time” to do so, and do did not.

Obama let loose Saturday at the Gridiron Club and Foundation’s dinner in Washington, predicting he’ll be getting even more laughs in the coming months thanks to a recent Washington, D.C., ballot initiative.

At the same event, Syracuse native and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had some fun joking about Clinton’s presidential ambitions and about reports of drunken Secret Service agents crashing into a White House barrier.

Bob McCarthy says Rep. Chris Gibson, a retired US Army colonel and potential 2018 statewide candidate, is “discovering that making the New York GOP again relevant may prove as difficult as anything he faced in Tal Afar.

The Lockport Union Sun & Journal says every upstate region is in dire need of additional state economic development aid, adding: “The thought of upstate divided by a cutthroat dash for extra cash is a bit disheartening.”

The Irondequoit Post agrees.

The D & C: “Cuomo has been in the Rochester area so often lately — with the latest appearance being at the Rochester Rotary and Rochester Business Alliance — that one may assume that he’s seen the depth of this community’s plight.”

Sunshine Week starts tomorrow, and the Auburn Citizen hopes Albany officials step up to the plate.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s investigation into lane closures at the George Washington Bridge and other alleged abuses at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is expected to wrap up in coming weeks after more than a year.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan said that he hopes Pope Francis will be around a long time in the aftermath of comments the pontiff made to a Mexican television station about potentially stepping down.

Despite despite significant work on roads, bridges and airports, Cuomo has yet to hit all his goals or fully address the state’s complex and expensive transportation needs.

Extras

The White House posted a Vine of Vice President Biden doing bicep curls Friday to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the “Let’s Move” campaign by doing five reps of exercise and passing it on.

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi on reports that the administration offered Syracuse Assemblyman Sam Roberts a job: “Not true.”

The ruinous series of decisions that wrecked FEGS – a health and human services nonprofit that has long been one of New York’s largest, most well-regarded social services organizations – was years in the making.

A new Twitter account will automatically track the NYPD’s anonymous edits to Wikipedia.

… the account was created following a Capital NY report that computers operating on the NYPD network at its 1 Police Plaza headquarters have been used to alter Wikipedia pages containing details of alleged police brutality.

Women’s rights groups say they’ll continue to fight for all 10 planks of the Women’s Equality Act, even though their staunchest allies – the Assembly Democrats – have agreed to take them up as stand-alone bills.

LG Kathy Hochul, who says she’s not a big email user and prefers to talk on the phone, made the case for a broad email and FOIL policy for the executive and legislative branches.

Hochul insists there will be “no winners and losers” in the governor’s upstate economic development competition plan, which excludes Buffalo, New York City and Long Island.

Former Rep. Bob Turner was recognized as the new leader of the Queens Republican Party last night, potentially ending two decades of internecine warfare.

A top donor to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Evgeny Freidman, a taxi mogul who helped broker a peace deal between the mayor and one of his loudest police critics, was fined $3,561 by the Campaign Finance Board.

Two months after de Blasio took heat for calling Sheldon Silver a “man of integrity,” the indicted former Assembly speaker joined a rally to pressure the mayor to make good on a campaign promise to close public schools for Lunar New Year.

In a direct step toward a run for the presidency, Hillary Clinton is hiring political staff to guide her Democratic primary efforts in the early voting state of New Hampshire.

Clinton’s expected April presidential launch nears, her already sizable campaign apparatus is moving into place and getting close to signing a lease for office space in Brooklyn.

A knife-carrying Army veteran who scaled a White House fence and dashed into the executive mansion before being caught pleaded guilty in connection with the case.

Staten Island DA Dan Donovan promised Brooklyn voters that if he’s elected to represent NY-11, he won’t post any naked photos of himself on the Internet. (He says he’s too old to know how to do that anyway).

Campbell Brown said any legislative changes from Albany making it easier to remove ineffective teachers would be welcome, but would not interfere with her legal challenge to New York’s teacher tenure laws.

Chelsea Clinton: “While I was on Wall Street, I realized that the things I was most passionate about were the things that my parents were most passionate about, which was pretty frustrating.”

RIP Donald Fredenburg, a 23-year-old Utica native and State Police trooper in training who died this morning during a run at the police academy in Albany.

College students who use tobacco products, pot and/or binge drink are more likely to use electronic cigarettes, according to a survey conducted by researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and UBuffalo.

Heads up.

Roberts Was All For CFE Funding Before He Was Against It

Assemblyman Sam Roberts raised eyebrows this week by taking a very public swipe at Syracuse Mayor Stephine Miner and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for the Cuomo administration to fulfill the 2006 CFE settlement, under which the state owes hundreds of millions of dollars to school districts across the state and a whopping $1.5 billion to the Big Apple.

In a letter to de Blasio, Roberts questioned why the city is seeking additional education dollars under the auspices of the CFE settlement when it current has a healthy economy, sizable tax base and budget surplus of $1.58 billion. Instead, the Syracuse Democrat suggested, perhaps the city, with its “greater resources”, should offer to contribute to its poorer neighbors and districts elsewhere in the state.

“The Assembly has focused its attention and funding on New York City for far too long at the expense of other 676 school districts statewide,” Roberts wrote.

The assemblyman’s sentiments are especially surprising due to the fact that he signed onto a letter to the governor back in January, calling on him to include a “substantial” increase in education in his 2015-16 executive budget proposal and citing data from the state Education Department that suggests the state is $4.5 billion behind on its CFE committment to districts statewide – an argument being made repeatedly this year by AQE, NYSUT and others.

Nowhere in the January letter was any distinction made about upstate districts versus New York City – the largest school district in the nation, which was the focus of the CFE case and is owed the lion’s share of the outstanding state aid. The majority of Assembly Democrats signed the letter – including Roberts.

Perhaps the assemblyman’s change of heart – and desire to pubicly criticize two fellow Democrats who have had very public disagreements with the governor – had something to do with the report that he has been offered a job with the Cuomo administration?

A source who has spoken directly to Roberts confirmed that the assemblyman did indeed say he would likely be joining the governor’s staff at the end of this year’s legislative session. According to this source, Roberts was actually offered a job early in the year, but turned it down, and is now up for a different – albeit yet-to-be-determined – position.

Asked by the Syracuse Post-Standard whether the governor had offered him a job, Roberts did not deny that had occurred, saying only: “A lot of people offer me jobs, OK?”

“Well, that hasn’t happened as of yet,” he also told the paper. I’m still in the New York State Assembly…There’s nothing etched in stone There’s all sorts of discussions. General Motors offered me a job, but I’m still here.”

Roberts did not return a message left by SoP at his district office in Syracuse last night.

The assemblyman said in 2013 that he was considering a potential run for mayor of Syracuse in 2017 when Miner will be barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

January 2015 letter to Gov Cuomo seeking additional CFE cash. by liz_benjamin6490

AG Backed Email Purge Policy Before Rejecting It

Also from the Morning Memo:

AG Eric Schneiderman raised eyebrows and won praise yesterday after he decided to suspend the controversial 90-day email purge policy that has existed in his office since at least 2007 (or maybe even longer) and directed his counsel to come up with a new email retention policy.

The announcement came after several state lawmakers introduced legislation that would create a new email retention policy for the state, requiring that online communications be preserved for at least seven years – much like how the federal government currently operates.

About two hours after news of Schneiderman’s suspension broke, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chief spokeswoman, Melissa DeRosa, issued a statement announcing the governor will “convene a meeting” with representations from the Legislature, and the AG and state comptroller to come up with a uniform email and FOIL policy that applies to all state officials and agencies.

Cuomo did not, however, follow Schneiderman’s lead in suspending the current – and much-maligned – purge policy, which he has implemented across executive agencies, while he and other officials try to figure out a better way to address the retention issue.

There has been a lot of finger pointing involved with this issue – especially as the subject of preserving emails and making them public has become a very hot topic, thanks to the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server based in her Westchester County home to conduct public business while she was secretary of state.

While it appeared that Schneideman’s office was merely continuing a policy put in place by his predecessors, internal documents obtained through a FOIL request indicate that’s not actually the case.

First – a word about the timeline on the 90-day purge policy. According to the AG’s office, it had been in place since 2007, which was the first year Cuomo served as AG.

But a 2007 memo to members of the AG staff on email retention and disposition policy indicates the effort to manage email retention actually dates back to at least 2005, which was when Eliot Spitzer was in charge of the office.

That same memo says the AG’s office was guided by general policies established by the state Archives and then-Gov. Spitzer, whose former top aides have (anonymously) disputed that a policy permanently deleting emails after a 90-day period ever existed.

“Former Attorney General Spitzer attempted to streamline the system in 2005 by reducing allowable megabytes. That method proved too difficult to implement,” the memo states.

“As Governor, he is now modernizing the e-mail communication system by imposing a 90-day time limit for retention of e-mails. We are conforming our policy to match that of the Executive.”

At the time, officials were concerned that saving too many emails would result in an “overloaded and underproductive” system and a volume that “overwhelms the capacity of our technology.”

Considerable advancements have been made on that front, with nearly unlimited storage space for online documents now readily available and also affordable.

According to a 2014 memo, the AG’s office took a hiatus from the 90-day purge policy that lasted about three years, thanks to a switch from GroupWise to Microsoft Outlook.

In May 2014, the office decided to re-implement the policy, noting that agencies statewide had adopted it under now-Gov. Cuomo, and the AG’s office was “ready to move back to this best practice.”

“Although retaining emails in Outlook can be a convenient way to store information for future reference, it is not a sustainable document management approach,” reads the memo to the AG’s staff from his chief operating officer, Shanti Nayak.

“Today, OAG is storing vast amounts of email data on our servers. This is difficult to manage at both the individual and organizational level, is slowing down our email systems and is causing us to retain many emails that do not need to be preserved under law.”

Nayak’s memo also notes that under this system, all litigation holds – automatically preserved by the AG’s IT department without action necessary by individual users – would continue.

Nolan: Testing Opt-Out Bill in the Works

From the Morning Memo:

The anti-testing movement, which encourages parents to opt their kids out of the state’s standardized Common Core assessments, is getting some support from Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Cathy Nolan.

During a CapTon interview last night, Nolan, a Queens Democrat, revealed her conference is “looking at legislation that would really reaffirm a parent’s right to opt out.”

“I think that we have to give parents some say here,” the assemblywoman said. “And it’s an obligation on the part of the Regents and the state Education Department to make sure that these tests are valid tests that reflect appropriately the diverse backgrounds of our children, the skill set is it the right skill set, the appropriate age level.”

“…We’ve heard from an awful lot of people on Long Island, and it has made an impact on me, and I hope it will make an impact on the Senate majority as well.”

Nolan noted that the testing “mania” (as she called it) coincided with her ascension to the position of Education Committee chair, and she now regrets some of the early support she gave to the idea that regular and rigorous testing was the best way to assess student performance.

“I sometimes feel, you don’t want to second guess yourself, (but) I have stepped from some of the initial support I gave it myself,” Nolan said.

“If I had to do it again, I would have opted my own son out from some of these tests. He would probably be happy to hear that now, he’s pretty much finished with them. But I think it created too much of a burden. We’ve kind of over-tested our children, so I think we really need to take a step back.”

Nolan’s comments come as leaders of Long Island’s anti-testing movement, whose boycott efforts captured national attention last year, are expanding their campaign as the April testing period approaches.

The testing question also figures prominently into the debate over teacher performance evaluations, as the governor has proposed making state test results 50 percent – instead of the current 40 percent – of the evaluation system, a move that is strongly opposed by the teachers unions that are closely allied with the Assembly Democrats.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is also in the city with no public events scheduled.

At 8:45 a.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton speaks in Atlanta at National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

At 9 a.m., NY Secretary of State Cesar Perales discusses Cuomo’s minimum wage proposal, Commonwealth Home Fashions Boardroom, 1500 N. Clinton Ave., Rochester.

At 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul convenes the Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council meeting, Union College, College Park Hall, 450 Nott St., Schenectady.

Also at 10 a.m., Sen. Marc Panepinto will stand with education leaders from Orchard Park, Hamburg, Ken-Ton, and Lake Shore School Districts in a “critical budget push” for public education, Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, Hearing Room 4, 65 Court St., Buffalo.

At 11 a.m., NYS Broadband Program Office Director David Salway discusses Cuomo’s New NY Broadband Fund, Commonwealth Board Room, 39 Myers Way, Willsboro.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. Kathy Marchione and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, will join forces for a press conference with county sheriffs, State Police, and their service dogs, highlighting the state legislators’ bi-partisan legislation commemorating March 13 as “K-9 Veterans Appreciation Day” in New York, LCA Press Room (130), LOB, Albany.

At noon, Perales again discuses the governor’s minimum wage increase plan, Gear Motions, 1750 Milton Ave., Syracuse.

At 12:15 p.m., elected officials and community leaders hold a rally calling for the addition of the Lunar New Year as a school holiday, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 1:30 p.m., acting NYS Tax Commissioner Ken Adams discusses Cuomo’s property tax relief proposal, home of Thea Fry, 4 Lyon Ridge Rd., Katonah.

Also at 1:30 p.m. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez to join East Side residents to discuss protection from future mega-storms & call for robust community turnout at workshops to help decide how to spend $335 million federally-funded post-Sandy East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, Solar One, 24-20 FDR Drive Service Rd. E., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., leaders from the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and Education for a Better America will address the policy implications of the influx of unaccompanied children into the Hempstead, NY Union Free School District, 185 Peninsula Blvd., Hempstead.

At 2:15 p.m., Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro will join together at a conference addressing adolescent health issues, Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown.

At 2:30 p.m., Hochul convenes the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council meeting, SUNY Onondaga, 4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse.

At 5:30 p.m., Actress Vinie Burrows performs and NYC Public Advocate Tish James delivers a keynote speech during an event organized by the Coalition of Labor Union Women to mark the U.N. observance of “International Women’s Day” on Sunday, March 8; Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center, 310 W. 43rd St., Manhattan.

At 5:45 p.m., Sen. Jose Peralta will be joined by Miss Universe, Paulina Vega, as he honors local women as part of the Women’s History Month celebration, La Boom New York, 56-16 Northern Blvd., 2nd Floor, Woodside, Queens.

Headlines…

After legislators earlier proposed a new law to retain state workers’ emails and AG Eric Schneiderman announced he’s suspending the email purge policy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said it would seek a uniform policy in state agencies and in the Legislature on email retention and FOIL.

Cuomo’s spokeswoman said the meeting was called “as the attorney general and the legislature appear open to revising their policies.” In fact, neither majority conference leader has proposed changes to their current exemption from FOIL or email retention, though a handful of bills have been introduced that would cover email retention as well as FOIL in the Legislature.

The DN says it’s time for Cuomo to “swallow his pride” and follow Schneiderman’s lead on emails.

The Senate and Assembly have stuffed millions of dollars in pork-barrel-type spending into nonbinding budget resolutions adopted Thursday — despite the fact that that governors have not allowed new legislative “member items” in the budget since 2010.

FEMA has agreed to review every flood insurance claim filed by homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy, amid accusations that damage assessment reports were fraudulently altered to minimize claims. The agency’s administrator also revealed in a letter to members of the New York and New Jersey congressional delegations that David Miller, who was in charge of FEMA’s embattled National Flood Insurance Program, has resigned and one of his top deputies has retired.

The United States and Canada have struck a diplomatic agreement that will allow U.S.-bound trucks to clear customs on the Canadian side of the border – a deal that could eventually help end the frequent truck backups that tie up Buffalo-bound traffic on the Peace Bridge.

Opponents of New York State’s teacher tenure laws won a small but important victory when a Staten Island judge allowed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of those rules to move forward. The decision comes as battles over the way teachers are hired, fired and evaluated swirl through courtrooms and statehouses across the country.

The decision was hailed by the plaintiffs and by TV journalist-turned education activist Campbell Brown, who has supported the legal challenge. NYSUT said the ruling was disappointed, but not unexpected, and plans to appeal.

Testimony in a lawsuit seeking more state funding for small urban school districts drew to a close yesterday amid claims from supporters of the plaintiffs that the state hired an expert witness known for questioning the value of school desegregation. A decision isn’t expected until the fall.

Thousands of parents, union leaders and teachers rallied at almost 200 NYC schools yesterday against Cuomo’s proposed education reforms.

The Assembly and the State Senate showed their budget hands with passage of separate, one-house budget resolutions. The measures show splits still to be resolved over education spending, ethics rules, minimum wage, property taxes, criminal-justice matters and billions in capital spending for everything from roads to transit systems.

The controversial elements of the budget negotiation will continue to center on education and ethics. Cuomo proposes a $1.1 billion increase in education aid if lawmakers agree to major policy overhauls; without changes, his aid proposal drops to $377 million. Both houses have proposed more.

Legislators sounded optimistic as they kicked off the first legislative budget conference committees – a largely ceremonial public negotiation that will unfold over the next two weeks as top lawmakers privately hammer out a $141.6 billion spending plan.

More >

Paterson To Legislature: Practice What You Preach On Transparency

At 6:24 p.m., a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Communications Director Melissa DeRosa landed in my inbox, declaring that the governor will be calling a meeting with legislative leaders plus the state attorney general and comptroller to come up with “one uniform email retention and FOIL policy that applies to all state officials and agencies.”

At 6:26 p.m., a letter from former Gov. David Paterson to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie followed DeRosa’s statement. In it, Paterson, who – thanks to Cuomo – is now serving as chairman of the state Democratic Party, accused the Legislature of “breathtaking” hypocrisy when it comes to the subject of transparency.

Paterson said he was motivated to write his letter after reading about the proposals introduced today by members of the Senate and Assembly that would block the governor’s controversial 90-day email purge policy and establish an up to seven-year retention policy based on the system already in place in the federal government.

“It feels to me like Albany’s version of the movie Groundhog Day,” Paterson wrote of the transparency debate. “It should really be titled ‘Transparency for Others’ and it must be the 1000th legislative proposal on ‘transparency’ slated to go nowhere.”

“Indeed in truth the hypocrisy of the legislature on this topic is breathtaking. Neither the Assembly nor Senate is yet subject to FOIL – a decades old reform almost every credible government in the country follows. There is no transparency in the State Senate. Senators and Assembly members have no email policy whatsoever. They can delete any email and dispose of every piece of paper. Even Washington, D.C. is better.”

Paterson, who served 22 years in the Legislature and was the first black legislative leader (Senate minority leader) before departing to become Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s LG, urged the Senate Democratic conference he used to lead to follow through on this issue and not be “press release reformers.” (The bill Sen. Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell have introduced would subject the Legislature to FOIL for the first time).

“In truth the Democrats know that we never passed these measures when we were in power and the Assembly Democrats know also that they could pass such measures if they ever wanted to,” Paterson wrote.

“The Senate minority should voluntarily agree now to FOIL and agree to keep records and make their documents available to the public. Let them agree to keep their emails for 90 days or permanently as they propose for others and subject them to FOIL. If the Senate minority enacted this policy, it would soon force the Republican majority to accept it. If the Senate did it, the Assembly would be forced to follow. That’s how change occurs.”

“Otherwise, today’s proposal will be another false gesture to appear as a reformer but to act like the same old recalcitrant Senate. Indeed if the Senate minority is not willing to practice what it preaches, my advice is it better not preach.”

Earlier today, AG Eric Schneiderman announced that he has decided to suspend the 90-day purge policy in his office, which was put into place in 2007 by his predecessor, Cuomo. The state comptroller’s office never embraced this policy and has no plans to do so any time soon, according to the comptroller’s spokeswoman.

Cuomo to Convene Email & FOIL Policy Confab

In the wake of AG Eric Schneiderman’s announcement that he is suspending the controversial 90-day email purge policy put in place by his predecessor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the governor’s spokeswoman announced he will “convene a meeting” with representatives of the Legislature and fellow statewide elected officials to come up with a uniform email and FOIL policy that applies to all of them.

Cuomo spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa reminded everyone in a statement released early this evening that the email policy in question – for which the governor has been weathering considerable criticism – was put in place in 2007 by then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and “expanded” to include the AG’s office (held by Cuomo at the time) that same year.

“We believe the policy should honor transparency while maintaining efficiency,” DeRosa continued. “To that end, as the Attorney General and the legislature appear open to revising their policies, the Governor’s office will convene a meeting with representatives from the legislature, the Attorney General and the Comptroller to come up with one uniform email retention and FOIL policy that applies to all State officials and agencies.”

(For the record, while the AG’s office did adopt the purge policy, the state comptroller’s office did not, and, according to his office, neither storage nor slowness caused by too many emails clogging the system has never been a problem).

Hours before Schneiderman’s announcement, several members of the Legislature introduced email retention policy legislation – most of it based on the federal government’s policy, which requires emails to be preserved for at least seven years.

The Cuomo administration has suggested that if this issue is going to be broached, it should also include discussion of making the Legislature subject to FOIL, which it currently is not. The bill proposed by Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell and Sen. Liz Krueger, both Manhattan Democrats, does just that.

Another bill proposed by Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, a Bronx Democrat, addresses issues raised by the Hillary Clinton email scandal by requiring state officials to use government email accounts – not personal accounts – for official business.

DeRosa did not set a timeline for the email/FOIL meeting. But the governor is clearly trying to get out from under an issue that has generated a lot of negative attention, thanks in part to the greater-than-usual interest in all things email-related, thanks to the revelation that Clinton used a private server based in her Westchester County home for emails when she was serving as secretary of state. Earlier this week, Clinton finally held a press conference to address the controversy, and revealed she and her team had deleted some 30,000 emails deemed “private and personal.”

Clinton said that she had used her private system out of “convenience,” and admitted that using two different phones – one for private communication, the other for business (and, in her case, national security matters) – would have been smarter. “I thought one device would be simpler; obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way,” she said.

Extras

A judge has denied a motion to dismiss two lawsuits that target New York state’s teacher tenure rules, determining the plaintiffs “clearly have standing” to assert their claims as students who have been deprived of their right to a sound, basic education.

Faced with surging violence at Rikers Island, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the sprawling jail complex for the second time in three months to unveil a 14-point plan focused on curtailing inmate fights and stopping the smuggling of drugs and weapons.

The Assembly is scheduled to pass an anti-human trafficking bill Monday, signaling the break of a logjam that prevented passage of Cuomo’s 10-point Women’s Equality Act.

“You take baby steps, giant steps, middle steps to achieve civil rights for every population, and for women this is an advancement,” said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, sponsor of the sex trafficking bill.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, facing down a handful of protesters who interrupted his NYC Council testimony this morning, said he was actually entertained.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that officer Darren Wilson should be “commended” for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, last August in Ferguson, Missouri.

Former Gov. George Pataki scolded 47 Republican senators for sending a letter to Iranian leaders – a move supported by at least five of his potential 2016 rivals – breaking with his party to argue that foreign negotiations should be conducted by President Obama and without the intervention of Congress.

“Given the rise of corruption in Albany, half-loaf measures can no longer cut it,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, which released a report recommending comprehensive ethics reforms.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a new website to engage New Yorkers and provide information on the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) that is included in his executive budget.

The $10 billion worth of upstate projects Cuomo has been touting in his budget includes $4 billion for reconstruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is just 20 miles north of NYC.

Another financial settlement, another $610 million worth of unexpected revenue for New York.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner on why she thinks Cuomo is ignoring her (written) missives on infrastructure: “(H)e doesn’t want to talk about it because there’s really an inconsistency in his message.”

There are some “glimmers of compromise” in the one-house budget bills released this week.

NYCHA’s general manager, Cecil House, the No. 2 official at the troubled housing agency, is out after just two years and six months.

New York City’s homeless population is not only at record levels, but conditions in city-run, taxpayer-funded shelters are filthy, unhealthy and dangerous, according to a new report from the City Departrment of Investigation.

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is switching seats in the chamber, and has also joined the Education Committee.

Hillary Clinton’s team of advisers is moving quickly to build a communications team that will handle her campaign’s messaging and play a crucial role in responding to attacks from opponents and critical news coverage.

A Slate list of Democrats who should challenge Clinton for the party’s 2016 nod include former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned independent), and Andrew Cuomo – “the threat of corruption charges notwithstanding.”

Clinton was never actually issued a State Department BlackBerry.

Greg Sankey, part of the six-person panel who found Syracuse committed widespread violations in its athletic department for more than a decade, was named the new commissioner of the SEC.

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and 15 members of New York’s House delegation are the latest to sign on in support of Cuomo’s plan to combat sexual assaults on college campuses.

Schneiderman Scraps 90-Day Email Purge Policy

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has decided to scrap the controversial 90-day email purge policy put in place by his predecessor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is now taking considerable heat from good government advocates, editorial boards and state lawmakers for instituting the policy across all executive agencies.

“Attorney General Schneiderman is committed to openness, transparency and restoring the trust of New Yorkers in their government,” the AG’s chief of staff, Micah Lasher, wrote in a memo distributed to all members of the office staff this afternoon.

“Consistent with that commitment, he has decided to suspend, effective immediately, the policy that was first put in place in the Attorney General’s office in 2007 of automatically deleting most office emails after 90 days. He has directed his Counsel to formulate, in short order, a new document retention policy.”

We here at SoP reported earlier this week of the existence of this policy in the AG’s office.

The drumbeat in opposition to Cuomo’s embrace of this policy continues. Earlier today, Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell and Sen. Liz Krueger, both Manhattan Democrats, introduced their highly anticipated bill that wold create an email retention policy for state government and effectively block the 90-day purge.

The proposal is based on the federal government’s email retention policy and would create standards for permanent preservation of records generated by statewide public officials, state lawmakers and those in senior agency positions. The emails would be preserved for at least seven years.

Also today, Bronx Democratic Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz introduced legislation that would set a seven-year minimum for email retention and require officials to use government addresses for emails, not personal ones. And Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is expected to also introduce a seven-year timetable bill as well.

Schneiderman’s move ups the ante on Cuomo, with the AG not-so-subtly siding with critics of this policy. The AG and the governor have long had a rather rocky – not to mention competitive – relationship, so it will be interesting to see how the governor responds to this.