Two Top Female Aides Leave Andrew Cuomo Administration
(Bloomberg) -- Two more aides to Andrew Cuomo have left their jobs as the New York governor faces dual scandals over sexual-harassment claims and accusations his administration covered up nursing-home Covid deaths.
Press secretary Caitlin Girouard and interim policy adviser Erin Hammond have left, the administration said on Friday. The two aides are the latest staffers to leave the governor’s office following the scandals, which have prompted bipartisan calls for him to resign.
Cuomo apologized on Wednesday for making women who worked for him “uncomfortable” but said he wouldn’t step down from office.
Gareth Rhodes, a senior adviser who often appeared at Cuomo’s televised virus briefings and helped lead the state’s vaccination effort, said this week he was leaving the administration to return to his previous role at the Department of Financial Services. Rhodes’ wife on Monday tweeted her support for Anna Ruch, one of the women who accused the governor of sexual harassment. First deputy press secretary Will Burns also said he would leave this week. The governor’s office said both departures were planned.
Girouard, who departed on Friday, had issued the statement last month denying sexual-harassment allegations of Cuomo’s first accuser, former economic aide Lindsay Boylan. She said Boylan’s claims were “quite simply false” in a statement issued on Feb. 24. In a December statement, she had also said “there is simply no truth to these claims.”
Girouard on Friday said she accepted a job offer in the private sector on Jan. 26 and that it was the “honor of a lifetime serving Governor Cuomo.” She said she began looking for a job outside of government last year, after working in the administration for two years.
Peter Ajemian, communications director for the governor, said “Caitlin is a world-class, top-flight communications professional who is well respected in New York, Washington and beyond. She’s been a real rock for our press shop, especially during the past year fighting the pandemic, and we wish her nothing but the best in her next chapter.”
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said Hammond’s departure had been planned for several months. “Her departure allows her to focus on her family,” he said.
Hammond didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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