Cuomo Aide Granted Waiver for Violating Workplace Gun Ban

February 13, 2014 - 6:28 PM

An aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has been granted a waiver after he broke a law prohibiting state employees from bringing firearms into the workplace.  Jerome Hauer heads New York's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services after his appointment to the position in 2011 by Gov. Cuomo.

Last October, he allegedly used the laser-sight on his Glock 9mm handgun during a presentation with Swedish delegates in the bunker beneath the State Police headquarters in Albany.  He was using it to point to the state of New York on a map.

The Times Union, a local news outlet in Albany, reported that:

Despite the lack of a waiver before January, several witnesses said he has been carrying a gun on the job since Cuomo appointed him in 2011.

People have seen Hauer with his gun on him in state buildings, including 633 Third Ave. in Manhattan, where the governor has offices, and at division headquarters at the Harriman campus in Albany.

[...]

A person in state government familiar with State Facilities Law said Hauer received a waiver from Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito on Jan. 10. She and State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico are the only people authorized to grant such waivers. The person said D'Amico declined to provide a waiver for Hauer.

D'Amico declined an interview request, and his spokesperson would not answer questions.

[...]

Destito has not returned calls about the matter, and her spokeswoman has refused to answer questions about the waiver.

Nevertheless, the Times Union added, "Cuomo defended Hauer at a news conference [last] Wednesday. The governor said he's comfortable with commissioners carrying weapons to work as long as they have gun permits. He qualified the response by adding 'if they are licensed and in that field of work.'"

The get out of jail card by officials in New York seems to be a theme nowadays.  Recently, Mayor Bill DeBlasio of New York made a call to a top NYPD official to get Bishop Orlando Findlayter, who served on DeBlasio's inaugural committee, out of jail.  Findlayter was arrested for outstanding warrants relating to a suspended license brought on by "a lapse in auto insurance," according to the New York Daily News.

The top police official that released Findlayter appears to be Deputy Chief Kim Royter. According to the NY Daily News:

'Did the mayor call me last night about this particular person and his status?' Deputy Chief Kim Royster told the Daily News. 'Yes he did.'

[...]

Following de Blasio's call, Royster spoke with Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr, commander of the 67th Precinct. She said Lehr had also been contacted by local clergy. The inspector was already at the stationhouse preparing to give the pastor a desk appearance ticket when she spoke to him, she said. Royster said Lehr told her: 'Why have a clergyman in the command in jail overnight?' Lehr, who has worked with Findlayter on community issues, personally released him.

'Did the mayor in any way persuade or say anything to whether or not this person would be arrested or released? Not at all,' Royster said. She added 'it's not unusual' for her to get calls from city officials about individuals taken into custody.