Buffalo native resigns as NYS Health Commissioner

New York State Health Department Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
New York State Health Department Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York State’s health commissioner is resigning, but Governor Andrew Cuomo says Nirav Shah is leaving over salary, not over Shah’s handling of New York’s position on hydraulic fracking.

Shah, a Western New York native, was appointed to his state post in 2011 at just 38-years-old, the youngest state health commissioner to be given the job. He is leaving for a position with the Kaiser Foundation in Southern California.

The resignation happened to come on the same day that GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino called for Shah’s resignation, citing the ongoing hydrofracking controversy. Shah has also been criticized for a lack of inspections in women’s health facilities.

However, in a meeting with the editorial board of the Democrat and Chronicle, Governor Cuomo is quoted as saying the resignation was over salary. Cuomo says the health commissioner is paid $130,000, which isn’t a lot of money for one of the best health professionals in the country.

Howard Zucker, the first deputy commissioner of health, will serve in a interim capacity following Shah’s departure in June.

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