Just about everyone said “adios” after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed his intentions to depart on August 24. Cuomo’s retirement was spurred by sexual harassment allegations, which is cause enough just to wish him well.
Many authors, like Liz Wolfe of Reason, contended that perhaps the governor’s strategy of compelling care facilities to admit COVID-positive individuals earlier in the epidemic should have led to his resignation.
Wolfe said this, as well as Cuomo’s effort to cover up all the fatalities that followed, should have resulted in his dismissal long ago.
The Story Goes Way Deeper then Perving and Nursing Homes
So we bid the discredited governor farewell; however, it’s worth mentioning that another of his epidemic programs, the terrible deployment of New York’s Emergency Rent Aid Program, has proved to be a big controversy (ERAP).
My column for @Newsweek :
A resignation is not accountability, and there are still many investigations that must be completed in due time. It is Cuomo's actions, after all, that led to the deaths of thousands of our greatest generation. https://t.co/F092v115oi
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) August 13, 2021
Congress approved $46 billion during the last two COVID rescue bills (which were approved in December 2020 as well as March 2021) to pay the massive amount of lost debts that renters have accrued during the epidemic.
The national government paid over $25 billion of the money for the rest of January 2021, including around $1.2 billion to New York county’s ERAP.
As per Town Limits, further federal funds and government money would finance the initiative to the extent of $2.7 billion.
— Intelligencer (@intelligencer) August 14, 2021
Where is the Money?
Despite this, according to US Treasury records, New York spent $0 of its rental relief monies by the end of June. Only $1.2 million had been spent after a month.
One of the main reasons for the late disbursement of funding is that the state’s Office of Technical and Disability Aid (OTDA); this office is in charge of implementing the scheme, did not begin taking applications until June 2021.
Renters and owners were greeted with malfunctioning web pages and demands for papers they didn’t have; this is when it finally got an application form gateway fully operational.
The interactive online gateway lacked a function that allowed customers to save their efforts and come back later, despite the fact that submissions would take hours to complete. People calling a helpline to report issues reported that the employees frequently had no responses.
Families of some of the more than 15,000 who died in New York nursing homes during the pandemic are urging state lawmakers and the U.S. Justice Department to keep investigating Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he leaves office. https://t.co/Fz5Kx0hG1s
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 12, 2021
Because of this underperformance, legislative leaders are looking into a $115 million no-bid deal issued by OTDA to an Illinois-based firm Guidehouse to set up ERAP.
Usually, governmental agreements worth more than $50,000 must be approved by the government controller; yet, those regulations were waived by Cuomo before that emergency declaration in reaction to COVID-19.
During the epidemic, governments adopted emergency orders that accelerated the capacity of government agencies to negotiate agreements. Despite this, the Associated Press reported in July that Guidehouse recruited a Cuomo adviser soon after receiving the state agreement, raising ethical concerns.
On the creation of New York’s ERAP, there likewise doesn’t appear to have been any back-and-forth among state officials and recipients. Cuomo hasn’t seemed particularly concerned about the program’s issues.