Washington D.C. --- The staff is told to refer all phone calls to the House Clerk but Rep. Eric Massa's former Chief of Staff Joe Racalto was willing to share a few details with me about what this office is like now.
Racalto is in fact still the Chief of Staff, he just doesn't answer to the now-former Congressman Massa. Racalto's job title is also Office Administrator and he responds to constituents, his staff, and the House Clerk on all matters. He tells me that the previous staff is still in place and constituent case workers are as busy as ever.
"We continue to respond to legislation," Racalto said, "but we don't have a vote." It's a unique situation to say the least. Racalto explains as how his staff can field calls from constituents and explain, describe, and comment on any legislative matter as they normally would. The one exception is that the explanation must now be in a non-partisan and non-political manner.
Given what's occurred to their former boss and the national media attention surrounding Massa's resignation, Racalto tells me he has two more priorities. The first is to make sure counseling and support services are available for any member of the staff that may need or desire those services. Racalto also said that finding his staffers new jobs elsewhere is one of his main priorities during this transition phase.
Based on the words from Governor David Paterson Tuesday
, a special election could be scheduled "as soon as possible." That means this office and its staff will surely be out of work in the very near future as a new regime moves in. Racalto said he's been approached about other job opportunities but for now remains committed to filling out his role and helping to place other staff in jobs.
"No one asked for this," Racalto said of the situation that's unfolded over the last week.