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Cuomo grapples with questions about resignation of Andy Byford

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Photo by Mark Hallum)

Reporters in Manhattan were not letting Governor Andrew Cuomo walk away without a comment Thursday after news broke of New York City Transit President Andy Byford’s resignation.

Cuomo was held to account for speculation that he over-stepped his role as governor – as pointed out in a resignation letter from Byford three months ago, which Byford later rescinded – by repeatedly assuring the press he was not on bad terms with the transit guru at any point in his two-year tenure.

“I don’t think there’s any truth that Byford couldn’t get along with me, most of my dealings were with [MTA Chair] Pat Foye,” Cuomo said at an related press conference at his Manhattan office. “I felt fine [about Byford’s earlier resignation attempt] But I’ve dealt with all sorts of situations in my life, they don’t get a rise out of me anymore.”
 
Byford’s departure was sudden, taking many at MTA Headquarters in Manhattan by surprise when the news broke during a regularly scheduled board meeting.
 
Cuomo remarked that the MTA “team” is stronger than it has been in a long time, but transit union leaders claimed earlier in the morning that Byford was one of the few in the top ranks of the agency with any substantial understanding of transit systems or an understanding of who to consult with.
 
“When you come here [MTA HQ], you’re surrounded by people who have no idea how to run the system, so it was in Byford’s best interest to look to the union for solutions,” John Samuelsen from Transit Workers Union Local 100 said.
 
Byford was a world-renowned signal expert and headed up transit agencies in London, Sydney and Toronto.
 
The MTA has not announced a successor.

Mark Hallum