New York State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen has announced that he will resign following media reports that he improperly shielded an employee with whom he had a “close personal relationship” from human resources complaints.
“Today I accepted the resignation of State Police Chief Kevin Bruen. I thank him for his many years of public service. First Deputy Superintendent Steven Nigrelli will serve as acting superintendent on an interim basis as we conduct a thorough search for a superintendent to lead this department in its important work, Hochul said in a statement.
Bruen, who was appointed to the post by disgraced ex-gov. Andrew Cuomo in June 2021, will officially step down from the post on Oct. 19, according to state police.
The announcement, first reported Friday by the Albany Times Union, comes days after Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed to the US newspaper that her administration was investigating the matter.
“This is a person I inherited,” Hochul told the Times Union.
The Democratic governor’s office had quietly put Bruen under scrutiny after his former chief of staff, MaryEllen Tedesco, 60, resigned last month amid another state investigation — into her handling of a wheelchair-bound potential hire, sources told The Post.
Bruen, 59, reportedly declined to act on multiple reports of wrongdoing about Tedesco.
Hochul had planned to fire the Cuomo appointee — but not until after the Nov. 8 election, in which she faces Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin – and replace him with First Deputy Inspector Steven Nigrelli.
“She doesn’t need another scandal before the election,” one Albany source said of Hochul’s reasoning.
Nigrelli is a longtime colleague of the governor and her husband Bill Hochul, who served as U.S. attorney in Western New York under President Barack Obama.
“I want to take the time to recognize someone I’ve known for a long time, someone I look up to, and thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for your leadership over the years,” Nigrelli told an Aug. 31 press conference. .
“To your leadership on this issue, governor — your laser-like focus on eradicating guns, illegal guns and gun crime in our community. We appreciated that in the state police,” he said.
Hochul has faced mounting criticism over alleged pay-to-play schemes involving campaign donors in recent weeks — including one that landed a $637 million no-bid agreement with the state for COVID-19 rapid testing.
“She doesn’t need another scandal before the election,” an Albany source told The Post this week about Bruen.
The results of the investigation are unlikely to be made public ahead of the Nov. 8 election against Republican candidate Lee Zeldin of Long Island.
A recent report by state Inspector General Lucy Lang blasted the state police for mishandling an internal disciplinary case involving a state trooper who dated a daughter of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo while he remained in office.
The union representing rank-and-file troops nonetheless offered kind words to Bruen as he entered his final days as superintendent.
“Superintendent Bruen has helped move the New York State Police forward during difficult times, including social unrest and the deployment of troopers to help the men, women and children of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. We wish Superintendent Bruen the best of luck in his future endeavors,” read a Friday statement from the New York State Troopers PBA.