Senator Phil Boyle, Alexis Weik, Mario Mattera, and Anthony Palumbo, Long Island’s Republican Delegation to the New York State Senate, joined their Senate Republican colleagues in demanding that the Federal Government assume control of the vaccination distribution program in New York State. In light of the stunning revelation that Larry Schwartz, New York State’s “vaccine czar,” called county executives to directly gauge their political loyalty to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Senators are demanding immediate federal action.
Mr. Schwartz is responsible for engaging with local county government officials in the process of obtaining sufficient quantities of vaccines for their constituents. According to several accounts, Mr. Schwartz simultaneously personally contacted county government officials to ask for their political support of Governor Cuomo.
“Mr. Schwartz was a longtime political operative in Suffolk County, with a history of controversies spanning decades. One grave concern is that Mr. Schwartz’s role as the “voluntary” vaccine Czar allowed him to avoid our governmental ethics laws when making these phone calls,” stated Senator Boyle.
“The allegations that an individual the Governor tapped to administer our State’s vaccination program has been seeking political assurances from local governments is extremely disturbing. Our state has lagged far behind in vaccine distribution - New Yorkers cannot continue to be held hostage to the Governor's political agenda,” stated Senator Weik.
“The last thing county leaders need right now is to have political pressure placed on them by the vaccine Czar at a time when they are undertaking the enormous task of providing lifesaving vaccinations to our seniors and vulnerable residents throughout New York State,” stated Senator Palumbo.
“The need to avoid even the hint of political manipulation in the effort to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible is critical to our state’s ability to recover from the current crisis. The recent actions by the Administration have the very real potential of undermining the public’s confidence in the vaccination program and that is simply unacceptable. That is why it would benefit everyone to have the Federal government assume control of the process and we are hopeful that Senators Schumer and Gillibrand will work with us so our entire state can move forward together,” stated Senator Mattera.
This troubling development concerning Mr. Schwartz reported by the Washington Post comes on the heels of mounting sexual harassment allegations against Governor Cuomo, and a Federal investigation into the potential cover-up of the Cuomo administration’s gross underreporting of nursing home deaths during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Please click here to read a letter from the Senate Republican Conference on this issue: https://www.nysenate.gov/sites/default/files/press-release/attachment/2021-3-15.senate_republican_conference_letter_to_u.s._senators.pdf