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Cuomo appoints LIPA chief as post-storm shift continues

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Poor performance and calls for change led to the resignation of top officials with the Long Island Power Authority, and now Gov. Andrew Cuomo has found two replacements.

After weeks without a chairman, the governor announced the appointment of Lawrence Waldman as the new chief of LIPA’s board of trustees Dec. 12. Waldman, a partner in charge of practice development at EisnerAmper, a CPA accounting firm, replaces former LIPA Chairman Howard Steinberg, who stepped down Nov. 30.

His resignation came after LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey announced Nov. 13 that he would be leaving the power authority at the end of the year. The task of choosing a new CEO will fall on the shoulders of LIPA’s board of trustees.

According to a LIPA spokeswoman, Waldman’s background includes more than 35 years of experience in public accounting and he has also served as a LIPA trustee. He also serves as treasurer and board member of the Long Island Angel Network and the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center at Stony Brook University. He is also chairman of the selection committee for the Long Island Technology Hall of Fame.

In a separate move, Cuomo also named RXR Realty President Michael Maturo to the LIPA board of trustees.

More than a million customers lost power after the October storm and some remained in the dark for more than two weeks. There are currently 8,134 LIPA customers in the Rockaways who cannot receive power due to repairs that need to be made because of salt water flooding damage at their premises, according to a spokeswoman.

But it has not been all bad news from the power authority. On Monday LIPA released its 2013 operating budget with no rate increases for customers.

Since the storm, Cuomo has signed an executive order creating a commission to investigate the utility company’s preparation and response to Sandy and previous storms.

“From Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee to Hurricane Sandy, over the past two years New York has experienced some of the worst natural disasters in our state’s history,” Cuomo said after signing the executive order. “As we adjust to the reality of more frequent major weather incidents, we must study and learn from these past experiences to prepare for the future.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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