Just a week after the one of the most destructive storms to hit the Northeast in years, the New York State Office of Emergency Management finds itself without a director. That's because Governor Andrew Cuomo abruptly fired Steven Kuhr, the guy who used to have the job, who dispatched government clean-up crews to his house on Long Island during the storm. A tree had fallen on Kuhr's driveway. So instead of putting out the fires that were turning an entire neighborhood of Queens into cinder and smoke or pumping water out out of ConEd's facilities so half the city didn't lose power, one lucky group of workers got to do the boss a favor. "When we found out about it, we fired him immediately," said a Cuomo aide.
Few would disagree that Kuhr's decision-making was ill-advised if not completely appalling. But some are already starting to wonder if firing the head of emergency services in the middle of a historically serious emergency like Hurricane Sandy is the wisest idea. Not hours after Cuomo made the decision, people were already starting to lose power again as a Nor'easter slammed into the Eastern Seaboard. Maybe Cuomo should've waited until Friday at least, since that's the standard day for firings and everything?
State Senator Martin Golden from Brooklyn doesn't think so. "I've got people sitting in their homes with two inches of snow outside, they have no electricity, no hot water, they're sitting in their homes and freezing to death," Golden told The New York Times. "This guy's only worried about his own home? It’s sad. The governor made the right call."
So far, Kuhr, who made $153,000 a year at his old job, hasn't said a word about the incident. We don't blame him. There are a lot of naughty things a government official can do, and God knows, New York government officials have taken that list to new creative extremes. (Three words: Twitter direct message.) Seriously, though, sending relief workers to do your chores in the middle of a crippling superstorm is pretty low.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.