New York, NY —
Gov. David Paterson’s director of communications has resigned, saying he can no longer "in good conscience" continue working for the governor.
"I have been honored to serve the people of New York during a difficult time in our state’s history," Peter Kauffmann said in a statement. "As a former officer in the United States Navy, integrity and commitment to public service are values I take seriously. Unfortunately, as recent developments have come to light, I cannot in good conscience continue in my current position. I have notified the governor that I am resigning as Director of Communications."
Kauffmann is the third member of the Paterson administration to resign in recent days. Earlier this week, State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt retired amid questions surrounding the state police's involvement in a domestic violence case against one of the governor's close aides. Last week, Corbitt's boss, Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Denise O'Donnell, quit.
Kauffman had been instructed by the governor at one point to tell a reporter that Paterson had been invited to the game by the president of the Yankees. But that turned out later, not to be true.
Paterson is spending the day out of the public eye, as two key groups of supporters, county Democratic Party chairs, and African American community leaders, hold private meetings to discuss the embattled governor’s future. Meanwhile, at the Capitol, lawmakers continued to meet in session.
Democratic Party leaders say they have resigned themselves for the moment to try to work out a budget with the governor. The leader of the Senate Republicans, Dean Skelos, who controls 30 key votes in that house, says he’s giving the governor a week to prove that he and his staff are up to hammering out a budget.
"He’s certainly challenged right now in his ability to govern," said Skelos. "Hopefully, if he feels he can’t do it, he will step aside."
Paterson has been charged with an alleged cover up of a domestic violence incident concerning an aid. An ethics panel had charged he illegally accepted free tickets to the first game of last year's World Series. Sen. Skelos says the accusations, if proven true, "rise to the level of resignation," and he suggests that over the next few days, the governor do some "soul searching."