The top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is resigning, according to a statement shared on Twitter by Capitol reporters Jimmy Vielkind and Zack Fink.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years,” reads the statement from Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor.
“New Yorkers’ resilience, strength and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day,” she said. “Personally, the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying.”
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state,” the statement concluded.
DeRosa gained a national profile in 2020 during the pandemic, but the positive attention, which included magazine covers, faded into the rear view mirror, first as she took fire for the state’s response to nursing home deaths tied to COVID-19 and then for her role in enabling a hostile work environment in the Cuomo administration.
She has come under intense scrutiny following the release of a report from state Attorney General Letitia James, which corroborated numerous accounts of sexual misconduct by the governor and implicated DeRosa in retaliation efforts, the promotion of an unhealthy work environment and improper political maneuvering.
In response to the resignation news, Democratic Sen. Andrew Gounardes tweeted that DeRosa’s resignation did not absolve her of “her complicity in creating a toxic workplace and enabling Cuomo’s pervasive sexual harassment.”
To understand how important DeRosa is in Planet Albany, Democratic political strategist Lis Smith told the New York Times last year that when a lawmakers gets a call from Cuomo’s secretary, “you’re essentially getting a call from the governor.” Additionally, perhaps no one in the administration is more loyal to Cuomo.