EDITORIAL: It is inappropriate for a public official to profit from a crisis


There is no reason that someone cannot earn some money from their accomplishments by writing a book.

That is, unless you are a current elected official, in the midst of a global health crisis, tasked with managing said health crisis, while retaining vital statistics for increasing book sales, employing taxpayer funded staff as “volunteers” to help you do this. money and schedule important announcements to coincide with the release of unflattering information.

So-nnn, we have a problem.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed on Monday he was getting $ 5.1 million for the book he wrote last year, highlighting his handling of the covid crisis.

The entire book deal has come under scrutiny for a number of reasons, including the governor’s decision to withhold precise figures on covid deaths in the months for months. nursing homes, apparently in order to deflect criticism and make themselves look good for the book’s release.

State officials are also examining the potential role Cuomo’s taxpayer-funded staff played in helping him research, edit, and compile the book.

The governor asserted that any work done by his staff on the book was voluntary or incidental. But do you really think that if your boss, the governor, asked you to do him a favor, you realistically think that you could refuse without fearing for your job?

During this one-of-a-kind event, the governor should have devoted 100% of his time and attention to crisis management and state government. He certainly hinted that he was.

It’s especially baffling that he was trying to profit directly from his governorship, in real time, and that the presence of a multi-million dollar pound contract may have influenced some of his decisions as governor, including the decision to suspend nursing care. home data.

On top of that, he may have delayed a major announcement on relaxing the state’s mask-wearing requirements as a distraction from the numbers in the book.

The federal CDC released its new mask-wearing protocol recommendations last Thursday. But Cuomo waited nearly five days to change New York’s rules – the same day the book’s critical numbers were due to be released. What a coincidence.

If the governor had any doubts about his conduct, he would give 100% of the proceeds of this book to the state, or to a fund for health care workers, or to a nursing home, or to anything other than his own. own bank account and children.

New Yorkers pay Governor Cuomo $ 250,000 a year to lead, not to write books.

If he wants to profit from his government service by writing about his experiences with covid, let him wait until he is removed from office.

Exploiting a crisis for personal gain when thousands of people are sick and dying is not the action of a leader.

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