Has Andrew Cuomo really quit? Missing resignation letter from NY governor raises serious doubts
Given that Andrew Cuomo holds certain powers as chief executive of the state of New York, he is required by law to forswear his office before Kathy Hochul can take his place
New York governor Andrew Cuomo resigned on August 10, announcing on national television that he will be leaving office in the next 14 days after 11 women came forward to make sexual harassment claims against him. However, since then, no one has seen his signed resignation letter and he has continued to take big policy decisions — something of a rare occurrence for a 'lame duck' politician. As a result, there is much speculation around whether Cuomo has actually resigned.
At the time of announcing his resignation, Cuomo said, "New York tough means New York loving. And I love New York. And I love you. And everything I have ever done has been motivated by that love." He added, "The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let the government get back to governing. And therefore, that's what I'll do." Kathy Hochul is set to become New York State’s first female governor in the event of Cuomo's resignation. Hochul will be the 57th governor of New York state.
Where is Cuomo's resignation letter?
According to New York law, if a public officer resigns, which includes the governor, "Every resignation shall be in writing addressed to the officer or body to whom it is made. If no effective date is specified in such resignation, it shall take effect upon delivery to or filing with the proper officer or body. If an effective date is specified in such resignation, it shall take effect upon the date specified... A resignation delivered or filed pursuant to this section, whether effective immediately or at a specified future date, may not be withdrawn, canceled, or amended except by consent of the officer to whom it is delivered or body with which it is filed."
However, New York Post, as well as multiple social media reports, have confirmed the fact that Cuomo is still to submit his signed resignation letter to the concerned supervising body. Given that Cuomo holds certain powers as chief executive of the state of New York, he is required by law to forswear his office before Hochul can take his place. The New York Times national political reporter Shane Goldmacher confirmed on Monday, August 16, that Cuomo had still not handed over his resignation letter.
Cuomo still has not submitted formal resignation letter https://t.co/I6sjKslTLj— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) August 17, 2021
The absence of a resignation letter from Cuomo has become grounds for conspiracy theories about whether he is really stepping down, especially after Cuomo's secretary, Melissa DeRosa's resignation letter began to circulate on Twitter. She submitted it on August 10 itself, the day Cuomo announced his decision to resign.
Meanwhile, in the light of Cuomo announcing his resignation, New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie unilaterally suspended the impeachment proceeding against Cuomo on Friday, August 13.
Cuomo's big political decisions
The 'lame duck' president theory also applies to other politicians in power who are either voted out or have resigned of their own volition. Such a politician is a lame duck after a successor has been elected, during which time the outgoing politician and the person replacing him or her usually embark on a transition of power. This includes not making any major policy decisions that might be scheduled to be implemented long after the outgoing politician leaves office.
However, Cuomo, having resigned, is not acting like one. On Monday, he announced all health care workers in the state of New York must be vaccinated by September 27 — a date on which he will no longer be the governor of NY and hence not be present to oversee the fulfillment of the mandate. According to David Paterson, whom Cuomo succeeded as governor, the fact that Cuomo gave himself a two-week notice before he vacates his office was also odd. “It was just a little puzzling that they wanted to have that amount of time… It’s suspicious, I’ll put it that way," Paterson said last week.
If we look at examples from the past, Robert Bentley, who resigned as governor of Alabama in 2017, quit the moment he made his announcement. Eric Greitens, who resigned as governor of Missouri in 2018 to avoid a scandal, announced his decision on a Tuesday and was out by Friday.