New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) communications director has resigned amid the latest shake-up involving the governor’s staff.
Peter Ajemian’s last day working for the governor was on Friday, and he will be replaced by Cuomo’s longtime chief adviser Rich Azzopardi, according to an announcement from the governor’s office. Cuomo’s office said Ajemian accepted a job outside government.
“After nearly four years, and with this year’s budget done and vaccine eligibility open to everyone, I decided now is the time to pursue opportunities in the private sector,” Ajemian said in a statement reported by Spectrum News.
“I’m grateful to the governor for giving me the chance to serve. It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be part of a team working for New Yorkers in a period of unprecedented crisis and seeing the government work for the people and people work for each other,” he added.
Azzopardi lauded Ajemian’s work with the governor’s office, saying that “he’ll always be a part of Team Cuomo.”
“Peter has spent nearly four years in the administration taking on the hard challenges during even harder circumstances,” Azzopardi said in a statement, according to Spectrum News. “There’s nobody I’d rather be in the trenches with and know he’ll always be a part of Team Cuomo.”
Cuomo’s office has seen several departures in recent months. At least nine of the New York governor’s former aides have resigned, Spectrum News noted, including Gareth Rhodes, who served on Cuomo’s COVID-19 task force; Caitlin Girouard, Cuomo’s former press secretary; and Jack Sterne, who served as a Cuomo spokesman.
On Friday, Cuomo’s office also announced that the governor’s deputy secretary for legislative affairs and policy, Dana Carotenuto, will become Cuomo’s chief of staff. She previously held a chief of staff position for the Senate Independent Democratic Conference.
According to the governor’s office, Jennifer Givner has been appointed acting press secretary, and Haley Viccaro will serve as the state’s deputy communications director for energy and the environment.
Cuomo has come under fire for a scandal involving his administration underreporting the coronavirus death toll in the state. He has also faced sexual misconduct allegations from several women, including former and current aides, though he has said he will not resign despite calls from lawmakers in both parties to do so.