By Jill Colvin and Nicole Bode
MANHATTAN — Education Department chiefs toppled like dominoes Thursday.
Hours after news broke that the controversial and short-lived city Schools Chancellor Cathie Black had resigned, State Education Department Commissioner Daniel Steiner — the man who signed the waiver that allowed her to take the job — was also on his way out.
"I have informed Chancellor [Meryl] Tisch and members of the Board of Regents that I intend to leave the State Education Department later this year," Steiner said in a statement. "Together we will begin to plan for a seamless transition."
Steiner, who came under massive criticism for his decision to clear Black to take the job over the objections of the independent panel appointed to rule on the waiver, which voted 4 - 2 against granting her the waiver.
Steiner said he made his decision after working out a deal with Michael Bloomberg in which Black agreed to work with a second-in-command, Shael Polakow-Suransky, the former deputy chancellor for performance and accountability.
In a 12-page decision that triggered multiple lawsuits, Steiner argued that Black's record and resumé convinced him to greenlight her for the job, even though she has no experience in the field.
"Despite her lack of direct experience in education, I find that Ms. Black’s exceptional record of successfully leading complex organizations and achievement of excellence in her endeavors, warrant Certification for service in the New York City School district," Steiner wrote.