Larry Schwartz – A longtime aide to the former Govt. Andrew Cuomo – who used his role as state COVID-19 vaccine czar to garner political support for his scandal boss – has resigned, the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul said.
“Larry Schwartz will resign, effective when the Senate confirms his replacement, and the governor will be grateful for his public service,” Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crompton-Hayes said in a statement.
To ensure that the MTA board is accountable to riders and represents the voice of New Yorkers, our administration will seek input from advocates, experts from affected communities and candidates to fill open seats on the board,” said Crompton-Hayes. said. “We look forward to working with the legislature to confirm those appointments in the next legislative session and provide the modernization, credibility, and enhancements that New York deserves.”
Schwartz had previously expressed interest in continuing to serve on the board, insisting that, “I don’t think I did anything that was unethical.”
Schwartz is mentioned 29 times in the state attorney general’s investigation into Cuomo’s alleged sexual assault of several women while in office. Hochul, who took office after Cuomo was forced to resign, has said no one named in the report will be part of his administration.
The state’s “vaccine seizer” until April 30 to use his official position to gauge his support for Cuomo amid mounting pressure by AG investigators to call county officials and investigate his behavior was cited.
The calls are also being investigated by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and a separate investigation by the Attorney General’s office.
Schwartz, who served as Cuomo’s top aide from 2011 to 2015, took on the role of “enforcer” for the then-governor’s priorities. This summer, he decided unilaterally that there would be no fare hike in 2021 – and the rest of the board agreed.
He also played an aggressive role in his brief stint as a vaccine jar. At one point, he threatened to cut counties out of the vaccination program if they failed to follow state guidelines on which shots should be prioritized, The Post previously reported.
Schwartz’s enemies in the advocacy community celebrated his expulsion.
“This is an important opportunity for Government Hochul to hire a truly free-minded champion for the best interests of the MTA and its riders,” said Rachel Foss of the good government group Reinvent Albany.
Schwartz did not immediately return a request for comment.
The governor’s office said he would resign only when the state Senate convenes to confirm the new appointments.
Legislators are not ready to return to work until January – although they may be back soon for a so-called “special session”.
“Under the leadership of Government Hochul, the MTA Board is working in a collaborative manner and in light of the serious challenges, financial and otherwise, faced by the Authority, it is useful to have as close to the full roster of Board members as possible MTA spokesman Tim Minton said in a statement.