Albany, NY - Al Sharpton: Cuomo's Transition Team Is Lacking In Diversity
Last updated on: November 10, 2010 08:16 PM
Albany, NY - Rev. Al Sharpton expressed “serious concerns” on Tuesday about the lack of diversity within Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo’s transition team.
“They should have given a priority to send an early signal that they are going to have a diverse administration,” Sharpton told the Daily News.
“We have not seen the signal we had wanted to see. I haven’t seen any signal at all,” he added, underscoring African-American unease with the Democrat.
Sharpton warned of “governing problems” for Cuomo if the situation is not addressed soon.
“He cannot govern a state that any day could have any number of emergencies unless he has the good will of all the people of the state,” Sharpton said.
The powerful black, Hispanic and Puerto Rican legislative caucus is crucial for Cuomo’s agenda.
A number of caucus members have privately expressed concerns, particularly since Cuomo was put on notice in May about the absence of minorities on the statewide Democratic ticket.
Cuomo’s camp insists his 280-page urban agenda and his trip to Puerto Rico this week to address a conference of Hispanic New York lawmakers highlight his commitment to diversity.
“Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said he will have the most diverse administration in history and that’s what New Yorkers will get,” Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said.
Cuomo is expected to name several familiar African-American and Hispanic officials to his fledgling transition team in the coming days.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakim Jeffries, an African-American, rushed to Cuomo’s defense.
“I remain confident he will appoint a diverse administration, and I’m willing to give him time before making a judgment,” Jeffries said.
Sharpton and others insist the key will be whether those people have real input - or are simply “window dressing.”
Sharpton said he’s spoken to Cuomo once since the Nov. 2 election, and plans to meet with him as soon as next week for a “substantive conversation” about boosting the diversity in his ranks.
“I’ve not known [Cuomo] to have a racial component, but the results are what they are,” Sharpton said. “I’m not a psychiatrist, I’m an activist. Why it is, I don’t know. That it is, is what concerns me.”
Cuomo yesterday had one black leader firmly by his side - outgoing Gov. Paterson.
He powwowed with Paterson for 45 minutes to discuss the hand-off of power.
Afterward Paterson praised Cuomo, saying he feels “very assured being replaced by someone who is going to do an excellent job.”
Cuomo said he will begin touring state facilities to get a better idea of how they run. First up: Sing Sing prison in Ossining and the Manhattan Psychiatric Center.
But Cuomo pushed back Wednesday. “Once I announce it, then people can have a critique,” Cuomo said after touring Sing Sing prison in Ossining, noting his team has yet to be assembled.
Cuomo insists he’s just getting warmed up.
“I’ve said I want to have the most diverse work force in the history of the state of New York, and that’s going to be one of my goals over the four years,” Cuomo said following a visit to the Manhattan Psychiatric Center.
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