Top Spitzer administration officials stepping aside

Several top officials in the Spitzer administration, some of whom were connected to political scanda

Several top officials in the Spitzer administration, some of whom were connected to political scandals that crippled the governor’s agenda, are calling it quits, an official familiar with the internal moves said today.

William Howard, Spitzer’s former public security adviser who was accused of helping orchestrate a plot to discredit Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno, has announced his resignation.

The other officials include: Lloyd Constantine, senior adviser; Rich Baum, the high-level adviser job titled secretary to the governor; Marlene Turner, Spitzer’s chief of staff; Peter Pope, policy adviser; Marty Mack, director of intergovernmental affairs; counsel David Nocenti; and Christine Anderson, Spitzer’s former press secretary who was promoted to communications director when Darren Dopp was suspended and then resigned.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the personnel changes have not been formally announced.

Spitzer had blamed Howard and former Communications Director Dopp for the scandal that involved using the state police to gather travel records on Bruno. Spitzer suspended Dopp, who eventually left the state payroll to work for a powerful lobbyist. Spitzer demoted Howard to the State Emergency Management Office, which was one of the areas he had overseen along with state police.

The staff departures come soon after Spitzer resigned last month when reports identified him as a client of a high priced prostitution ring. Spitzer, elected in a landslide in 2006, was in office barely 14 months.

An investigative report by Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares released Friday named Nocenti, Spitzer’s top lawyer, as being involved in discussions of the Bruno plot. Bruno had accused Dopp and Howard of misusing the state police to compile records of the state’s most powerful Republican’s use of state aircraft on days he mixed meetings with lobbyists with attending Republican fundraisers.

Soares’ report, citing Dopp’s testimony, said Spitzer had a direct role in compiling and releasing the travel records, in contrast to Spitzer’s oft-repeated public claims that he had no knowledge of the plot.

Spitzer’s lieutenant governor, David Paterson, succeeded Spitzer on March 17.

Howard had also worked in the Republican administration of Gov. George Pataki. His departure was first reported Wednesday by the New York Daily News.

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