Archive for April 17, 2011

The Kessel NYPA Watch, April 17, 2011 – By George J. Marlin

April 17, 2011


At a Western New York event on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, Governor Cuomo signed into law one of his leading energy initiatives, “Recharge New York” legislation which passed with bipartisan support and will reduce the utility bills of companies, hospitals and other not-for-profits.  According to Newsday, “The new program cuts an employer’s bill over the life of the seven-year contract with the state-run New York Power Authority.”

Since Kessel considered “Recharge New York” a pet project, his absence from the bill-signing event was most conspicuous.  In fact, Kessel and NYPA were not even mentioned or quoted in the governor’s press release.  All calls to NYPA’s press office were directed to the governor’s communications office.  One Street Corner correspondent reported that Kessel’s self-aggrandizement “Recharge New York” extravaganza was shelved.

A review of the governor’s website reveals no mention of Kessel’s name in any press release this year although other agency heads and commissioners are named in various announcements.  This Kessel media blackout was in effect even before word of the state Inspector General’s investigation of Richie was publicly reported.

At the last NYPA public board meeting on April 4, 2011, uncharacter-istically, Kessel did not say a word but listened chastened to new trustee John Dyson and the other NYPA trustees and NYPA senior staff discuss projects.  Following the meeting, Richie declined to answer media questions.  This behavior is bizarre for a person who has devoted his public career to governing by press release, blabbing to reporters and creating and attending public events where he can be the center of attention.

Finally, NYPA’s April 4 announcement of hydropower allocations to companies around the state, including Yahoo!, quoted Chairman Townsend and Trustee Dyson but not Kessel.  Shockingly, there was no NYPA press release on the changes approved to the controversial HTP project that Kessel has advocated for and of which the NYPA board required major reworking at the April 4 board meeting.  Things sure have changed recently at NYPA.  But there is one break in the media blackout.  Typically, Richie’s blog’s latest post is dated March 14—from Stony Brook, Long Island.

Here are some questions Street Corner has received from its correspondents:

Has Kessel been muzzled by the NYPA board?

Has Kessel been removed as a negotiator on NYPA deals?

Can he run NYPA now that he has been so publicly discredited?

Is Kessel too busy answering Inspector General inquiries to attend public events?

Is Kessel too busy emptying out his office and updating his resume?

Will Kessel’s government service, which has been marked by the wasteful expenditure of billions of dollars, soon end not with a bang but with a whimper?

Street Corner Conservative invites NYPA employees to post why they believe the once omni-present Kessel has become a recluse.