The Richie Kessel NYPA Watch, March 24, 2009 – By George J. Marlin

An Open Letter to Governor Paterson regarding ending
the Kessel Madness

Governor Paterson expressed the outrage of the State in his extraordinary “Open Letter” to Richie Kessel, NYPA CEO, yesterday.  In the short, curt letter addressed to “Mr. Kessel”, Paterson urgently asked Richie and NYPA to reconsider its proposed rate increase and to forego proposed bonuses in the amount of approximately $3.4 million.

In making his request, the Governor noted that we are living through a “time of economic hardship and shared sacrifice” and that Kessel’s rate increase could have a negative impact on businesses and nearly 2.5 million New Yorkers and that in today’s economic climate it was “inappropriate” to propose incentive compensation for any NYPA employees.

Governor Paterson’s request was right and timely and his brusque tone appropriate for one of the laggards of the Paterson Administration.  In light of Kessel’s embarrassing record during the last six months catalogued in these pages and those of The Buffalo News, Newsday, Niagara Gazette and Watertown Daily Times, it is time for the Governor to take the next step and take advantage of the propitious opportunity presented by NYPA’s March 31 Board meeting.

At the meeting, the agenda is expected to include the appointment of Kessel as NYPA CEO.  Street Corner Conservative calls on Governor Paterson to request that the NYPA Board, which voted to elect Kessel in September 2008 by a 4-2 vote, not act on his appointment.

The Governor has at least three options:

  • First, end the embarrassment and preclude further Kessel shenanigans by firing Kessel now;
  • Second, request that the NYPA Board not act on the Kessel reappointment at the March 31 Board meeting and leave Kessel in place as a wounded and weakened lame duck who will be afraid to hire more Long Island campaign staff, increase rates, enhance subsidies to Long Island at the expense of upstate and otherwise damage the Administration with upstate voters; and
  • Third, allow Kessel to do the right thing and resign although LIPA observers will remember that Kessel resisted to the end when former Governor Spitzer fired him in the early months of his term.
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