Howard Steinberg, chairman of the Long Island Power Authority, has resigned, the latest in a series of departures from the utility after superstorm Sandy.
Steinberg submitted his resignation letter to New YorkGovernor Andrew Cuomo today, Michael Hervey, chief operating officer, said in an e-mailed statement. Hervey, who also is the acting chief executive, said Nov. 13 that he’ll be leaving the authority at the end of the year. Board member X. Cristofer Damianos and Bruce Germano, president of customer service, have also tendered resignations since Sandy struck Oct. 29.
Steinberg’s resignation leaves the 15-member board of trustees with only eight members, the number needed for the board to have a quorum and conduct business. It took LIPA more than two weeks to get power back for thousands of customers after Sandy knocked down trees and power lines, leaving more than 1 million of the authority’s customers in the dark. Since then, Cuomo, a 54-year-old Democrat, has said he may eliminate LIPA entirely.
Steinberg didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.
LIPA is a state-run authority, which the governor controls by appointing nine members of its board, including the chairman. In two years, Cuomo has appointed one trustee as seats have sat vacant and terms expired. Steinberg, who was appointed by Republican Governor George Pataki in 1999, has remained on the board even though his term expired in August 2011.
“This was long overdue and probably a necessary step in attempting to reorganize LIPA, and it signals to the governor that he needs to move quickly,” Matthew Cordaro, former chief operating officer of Long Island Lighting Co., a predecessor to the Long Island utility, said in a telephone interview.
The authority and National Grid Plc, which operates its electricity network, were sued this month by customers accusing them of failing to properly maintain their system.