Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo hired two experienced hands for his administration Thursday, adding a manager to cut agencies and another to help the transition.
Cuomo is hiring Paul Francis to the new position of director of agency redesign and efficiency. Francis was the widely respected top aide for former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and continued as director of
state operations for outgoing Gov. David Paterson.
Francis also has extensive private sector experience and was a founder of the travel website Priceline.com.
Cuomo also hired Paterson's chief of staff, Lawrence Schwartz. He will provide Cuomo with extensive insight into the inner workings of a governor's office and how it negotiates with the
Legislature and others.
Cuomo didn't immediately release the salaries for the pair or explain how creating a new position for Francis fits into plans to cut spending.
But Francis' role mirrors the cost-cutting plan contained in the policy books produced by Francis in the campaign. According to the policy books, Francis' work if enacted would save millions of
dollars and create long-term structural changes to make Albany more efficient.
``Paul knows as much about how the private sector works as he does about how government works,'' Cuomo said in a statement. ``This is exactly the type of experience and perspective we need in order to take on the critical task of reorganizing and right-sizing state government for the first time since the 1920s.''
State Business Council President Kenneth Adams called Francis ``a brilliant manager.''
``Right now, New York state government is too big, too expensive and it is not working for the people of the state of New York. (Francis) will leave no stone unturned,'' Adams said.
Schwartz will serve as senior adviser to assist in the transition. As secretary to the governor, he has run the daily and long-term operations of the governor's office. He has also been Paterson's lead on crisis issues including the closing of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp., to which Paterson made Schwartz the board chairman.