Oneida County's top elected official didn't receive an invite to a pair of Mohawk Valley press events with the Lieutenant Governor on Thursday.

Anthony Picente, Oneida County executive, said he didn't even know Lt Gov. Kathy Hochul planned to visit the area until the last minute.

''I didn't even know. I believe I'm in timeout or double-secret probation because I wasn't invited to see the Lieutenant Governor. I didn't even know she was coming until I had a conversation with Senator Griffo in the afternoon and he said: 'Are you going to this thing?'. And, I said, 'What thing?'"

Hochul made two stops Thursday - one at Genesis Disposables in Frankfort, just across the Oneida-Herkimer County border, and another at Environmental Composites in Utica, in Oneida County.


''...This is the pettiness of this administration when you question them or criticize them, they then don't invite you to their school play, or whatever they wanna call it,'' Picente said.

Picente has been critical of some of Andrew Cuomo's handling of the pandemic, most notably his eleventh-hour about-face when the several upstate regions when preparing to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

''We've been an area that's been ahead of the state in so many different areas...look at what we've done since Day 1...the fact that Lt. Gov didn't even call or talk to me about coming to my community when we've been the lead agency, the lead government for the [Moahwk Valley Region],'' Picente said. ''It's pretty ridiculous...the Governor preaches each day about the politics of all this, and it can be political. What happened yesterday was pretty political.''

''Why are we sending PPE to other states, when we need it?'' he said.

''Why are we sending testing to Houston when we need it here? Why are we sending PPE out the door when the state is supposedly broke when the state is cutting reimbursements to counties,'' Picente said.

When asked about Cuomo's nationwide PSA featuring actor Morgan Freeman, the county exec said ''We have money for that but we don't have money for mental health,''  noting the state cut reimbursements to Oneida County - 20% for mental health costs and 31% for addiction and treatment services.

Picente also weighed in on Cuomo's most recent order that bars and restaurants aren't allowed to serve alcohol to patrons unless they are purchasing food.

He called it another burden on businesses, one that is 'very confusing.'

''So when you finish eating you gotta get up and leave, you can't finish your coffee or have a cocktail?'' Picente asked.
Full audio from Picente's interview on WIBX will be posted shortly


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