Via The Buffalo News:
The cleanup after the tornado that struck the Erie County Fairgrounds was well under way Thursday afternoon when an aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo asked that the cleanup be delayed – until after the governor arrived, fair CEO Dennis Lang said.
“I said, ‘You’re kidding, right?'”Lang said he told a Cuomo aide who asked him to keep debris in the area where the press conference would be held. “I just turned around and walked away.”
Lang said he did not know the name of the man who asked for a delay.
“After the ceremonial service was over, I haven’t seen any of them, nor do I expect to see any tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,” Lang said of state officials and National Guard, who were at the governor’s news conference.
Cuomo’s office denied it requested the cleanup be delayed.
“The Governor’s number one priority is helping the people of Western New York immediately recover from this latest extreme weather event and any suggestion otherwise is categorically false,” Deputy Press Secretary Abbey Fashouer said. “The Governor has deployed more than 100 National Guard to the region, worked with impacted utilities to restore power to more than 20,000 homes and businesses, and aggressive recovery efforts – which have never once paused – will continue full stop until cleanup is completed.”
She further added that the National Guard arrived and worked on cleanup before, during and after the governor arrived. She said the governor’s arrival in Hamburg was delayed because of extreme weather.
But this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
In late August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene smashed into areas of upstate, damaging hundreds of homes, wiping out farms and gutting downtown areas of tiny villages in many eastern parts of New York. In the tiny Catskills community of Prattsville, one of the epicenters of the storm’s damage, work was halted on clean-up and repair efforts as volunteers, utility crews and homeowners were asked to prepare for Cuomo’s arrival.